Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary on vaccine roll-out
Japan’s first coronavirus shots were given to health workers Wednesday, beginning a vaccination campaign considered crucial to holding the already delayed Tokyo Olympics.
The progress the campaign might make is uncertain, however, in a country concerned about possible shortages of imported vaccines and where people are often reluctant to take vaccines due to worries of side effects.
Katsunobu Kato, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary said on Wednesday at a press conference, “we would like to make efforts so that the people can be vaccinated with a peace of mind.”
The massive drive comes after the government gave its belated first approval Sunday for shots developed and supplied by Pfizer, which have been used in many other countries since December.
Japan fell behind after it asked Pfizer to conduct clinical tests with Japanese people in addition to the company’s earlier tests in six other nations.
But officials say it was necessary to address the concerns of many Japanese about safety in a country known for low vaccine confidence.
Supplies of imported vaccines are a major concern because of supply shortages and restrictions in Europe, where many are manufactured.
Some of 40,000 doctors and nurses from 100 selected hospitals across the country received their first shots Wednesday, with their second shot planned for March 10.
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