Japan is now at the astonishing milestone of 1,000,000 vaccines per day, after months of delays and frustration. With the Olympics starting in less than a month and only a small percentage of the country having been vaccinated, the question remains: Is this enough?
The vaccination rate is increasing even though the young are still hesitant due to an anti-vaccination misinformation camp. Officials have slowed vaccination reservations because demand exceeds supply.
There are concerns that government efforts to boost vaccinations ahead of the Olympics may be hampered by bureaucratic and political bungling.
Many private companies and universities have joined the vaccination drive to complement the government’s efforts to fully immunize elderly people by July 31st.
This acceleration is raising concerns about a shortage of vaccines and further progress is currently uncertain. Taro Kono (minister in charge of immunizations) abruptly announced Wednesday a temporary suspension for many vaccination reservations. He stated that vaccine distribution could not keep up with demand.
Kono stated, “It’s a tightrope scenario.”
It will be crucial that the country’s young embrace the vaccine program.
Experts say that while more people are receiving the vaccines and full vaccinations of the nation’s 36 million seniors now seems likely, the younger population is still largely unvaccinated. Their movements during summer vacations or the Olympics could cause an increase in infections. This could be triggered by the more contagious Delta strain.
Tokyo has seen a resurgence in cases among young people. Tokyo reported 619 new cases Wednesday. This is up from 405 cases over the previous seven days.
Inoculation drives could falter if young people, who are more likely to have serious symptoms than others, don’t get vaccinated. Sometimes, rumors and misinformation online about vaccines can convince skeptical people.
Kono stated that it was a major issue how to encourage younger generations of people to be vaccinated. Officials will reach out to them via social media in order to provide accurate information.
Observers are recognizing a surprising turnaround in the vaccine campaign, despite fears that things might slow down again.
In May, just a quarter of a million shots were being administered daily. Only 2-3% of the population was fully vaccinated. Since then, the pace has slowed to 1 million shots per day, which is a goal set by Prime Minister Yoshihide Sug that was once considered excessively ambitious.
About 8.2% of the country had been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday. It’s impressive, but it’s slow. This is still a significant improvement on the U.K.’s 46.3% and America’s 44.9%, respectively, according to Our World in Data.