TOKYO (AP) — As Olympics host Tokyo saw another record number of coronavirus cases Wednesday, Japan's vaccination minister said the speed of the country's inoculation campaign is less urgent than getting shots to young adults, whom some health experts are blaming for the current surge in infections.
Taro Kono told The Associated Press that Japan is "overshooting" its goal of a million shots a day, so "speed doesn't matter anymore." He said Japan is averaging about 10 million shots a week after a late start that critics have blamed on extra red tape.
"Even if we slow down a little bit, I'm OK. Rather, we need to reach out to the younger people, so that they would feel that it's necessary for them to get vaccinated," Kono said during an interview in his office. "If we could vaccinate (those in their) 20s or people in (their) 30s for 80% or higher, it would be a good number for me."
He said officials will turn to the internet to get the message out to young adults and work to combat vaccine misinformation. Young adults are now eligible for vaccinations under Japan’s largely age-based immunization system, but many are not eager.
Tokyo reported 3,177 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, an all-time high for the city and the first time it exceeded 3,000 infections in a day. The new cases bring the total for the Japanese capital to 206,745 since the pandemic began.
Tokyo is under its fourth state of emergency, which will last through the Olympics and stop two days before the Paralympics begin Aug. 24. Experts had earlier warned that the more contagious delta variant could cause a surge during the Olympics, which started Friday.
Some scientists have questioned holding the Tokyo Games at all, and there is widespread public opposition to them. Many fear that the tens of thousands of visitors will make the virus situation worse.
Kono said he was confident that a "bubble" is keeping Olympic visitors away from regular Japanese citizens, reducing the risk of more cases. He also said he didn’t think the Games would create a "Tokyo variant" of the virus that could spread around the globe.
"We're not really worried about that issue," Kono said.
The International Olympic Committee says more than 80% of athletes and staff staying in the Olympic Village have been vaccinated — and they are expected to remain largely in the locked-down athletes' village and venues. Still, the bubble is based more on the honor system than official enforcement.
Vaccination rates are not clear for other participants coming from abroad, many of whom are staying in Tokyo hotels, and experts warn that even strict rules won't prevent people from mingling, especially among non-athletes.
"There’s a limit to the bubble," with reporters and other people going in and out, said Dr. Kazuhiro Tateda, a Toho University infectious diseases expert who is on a government COVID-19 panel.
While Japan has so far kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries, its vaccination campaign started with health care workers only in mid-February, behind many other large economies. Japan required additional clinical testing for the vaccines, a time-consuming step that many experts called medically meaningless.
Kono said Parliament demanded the additional tests, and that there's a long history of people suing the government over vaccination campaigns.
"Now we've learned a lesson, so if there's going to be another pandemic, I think we would do it a different way, for sure," Kono said.
Health experts have noted that cases among younger, unvaccinated people are rising sharply. While about two-thirds of Wednesday's cases were people in their 30s or below, those in their 40s and 50s now dominate Tokyo's nearly 3,000 hospitalized patients and are gradually filling up available beds.
Dr. Ryuji Wakita, director general of the National Institute of Infections Diseases and head of a government advisory board, said vaccination progress has been limited mostly to elderly people.
Wakita acknowledged that the rise of serious cases is modest compared to the sharp increase of daily cases, but even so, the ongoing surge could cause younger and unvaccinated patients to develop serious cases while being left untreated.
Inoculations for the elderly started in mid-April, but were slowed by initial supply shortages, cumbersome reservation procedures and a lack of medical workers to give shots. The pace then picked up in mid-May when imports stabilized and more staff to give the shots was secured.
The government says 33.4 million people, or 26.3% of the public, have been fully vaccinated and 47 million, or 37%, have had at least one shot as of Monday. About 25 million elderly people, or about 70%, are completely inoculated while 30 million, or 85%, have had at least one dose.
Despite Kono's comments on the speed of inoculations, there are still worries about the vaccination pace.
Workplace inoculations began in mid-June, with thousands of companies applying for a chance to vaccinate employees. But the government then indefinitely stopped taking such applications because of tight vaccine supplies and vaccinations at about half of 5,000 worksite locations have been on hold.
Vaccine distributions from the central government to municipalities also declined, from 18.7 million doses in June to 12 million doses for July-August, forcing towns across the country to postpone or suspend vaccination reservations.
Japan had received about 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by June, and an additional 70 million shots are expected between July and September. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has tried to accelerate the delivery of vaccines, including in a meeting with the CEO of Pfizer.
Suga is under increasing pressure, and his political future may be tied in part to an Olympics that are perceived as successful. There's also the geopolitical competition with rival Beijing, the next Olympics host, to make sure the Games go off without major calamity.
Asked about the political considerations of going through with the Tokyo Games, Kono said: "I think it’s irrelevant."
- Japan earthquake death toll rises to 16 as rescuers dig through debris
- Recommendation on vaccines should not remain a ‘piece of paper’, Commission says
- Japan's Atomic Bomb Survivors Urge Abe to Join Nuclear Weapon Ban Deal
- Japan quake death toll up to 16 as rescuers dig through landslides
- Japan PM says post-Brexit Britain welcome to join Pacific trade pact
- Education Secretary urged to respect Holyrood vote on P1 tests
- POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by the European press: Safe in Japan — Militia in Slovenia — Martin Selmayr’s D-Day
- Cruel yet popular punishment: Japan's death penalty
- Japan says UK could join trade pact post-Brexit
- Japan no longer an island
- Indiana residents urged to get flu shots as flu season nears
- Interview: 'India and Sweden are very different in size, but similar in principles'
- POLITICO Pro Morning Trade: Why USMCA? — Cargill interview — EU-China
- Kennel Club Urges Shorter Quarantine for Imported Pets
- Breastfeeding prime minister defends spending €45,000 on flight
- Minister Says Pakistan Wants Dialogue With India, Blames Indian Domestic Affairs
- Ex-Prime Minister Sir John Major talks Brexit and the North East as negotiations continue to reach a deal between the UK and EU
- Ex-Prime Minister Sir John Major says North East can’t afford to lose Nissan after Brexit
- Italian Interior Minister Vows to Tighten Policy Toward Undocumented Migrants
- Full Transcript of Haaretz's Interview With Isaac Herzog
|Conception II: Guidance of the Seven Stars and Mazuru's Nightmare for Japanese Nintendo 3DS (Japan Import) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Conception II: Guidance of the Seven Stars and Mazuru's Nightmare for PS Vita (Japan Import) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|FORZA Soccer Goal 8x6 - The Premier Soccer Goal Brand! Great Gift For Young Soccer Stars! (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Junior Classics for Young Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Junior Classics for Young Readers) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Mystery of the Missing Lion: A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty: (humorous fantasy and science fiction for young adults) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Kangaroo Pouch: A story about surrogacy for young children (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Ace the Programming Interview: 160 Questions and Answers for Success (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Americans are coming: A historical story for young readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Talking to the Sun: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems for Young People (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Shifting to the Business of Life: A Survival Guide for Young Adults (A Live, Love, Learn Series) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Capitol Hill Playbook: A Machiavellian Guide for Young Political Professionals (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Future of the Earth: An Introduction to Sustainable Development for Young Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|If You're Not The Lead Dog, The View Never Changes: A Leadership Path for Young Adults (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Beauty in the Heart: A Study of Godly Beauty for Young Women (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Junior Classics for Young Readers) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Sun's Eye: West Indian Writing for Young Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Attack of the Killer Video Book: Tips and Tricks for Young Directors (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Boots and the Big Daddy Rattler: An Adventure Novel for Young Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Who Has Seen The Wind? An Illustrated Collection of Poetry for Young People (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Guidepost-illustrated Edition (Religious Vocation Manual for Young Men) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Case of the Constant Caller: A Father Dowling Mystery for Young Adults (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Case of the Dead Winner: A Father Dowling Mystery for Young Adults (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Insect Book: A Basic Guide to the Collection and Care of Common Insects for Young Children (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Mary's Little Donkey and the Flight to Egypt: A Christmas Story for Young Children (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Wild Ponies of Assateague Island (Books for Young Explorers) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Colors of Christmas: A Christmas Poem for Young and Old (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Great Clay Adventure: Creative Handbuilding Projects For Young Artists (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Adventures of Ulysses (A Criterion Book for Young People) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Sales Interview: Step-by-Step guide for Sales Candidates: Pharmaceutical - Biotech - Medical - Surgical (Volume 1) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Bride's Reference Book: A Guide for Young Marrieds (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Mouse and His Child (Oberon Plays for Young People) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Outside Play and Learning Book: Activities for Young Children (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing for Young Adults (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Throwaway Horse and Other Short Stories for Young People: Book 2 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Angels of the Swamp (Walker's American History Series for Young People) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Sanjaygawa and the Yak Whisperer: A Story of Hope for Young Ones of All Ages (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Firework-Maker?s Daughter (Oberon Plays for Young People) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Junior Classics for Young Readers) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Hark, the Herald Angel: A Christmas Musical Drama for Young Voices (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Master The AP Biology Exam: A Complete Formula for Test Success (Peterson's Master the AP Biology) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Pyramid Approach to Education: Lesson Plans for Young Children (Volume One) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The New Press Guide to Multicultural Resources for Young Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Trouble with Jeremy Chance (Historical Fiction for Young Readers) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Facing The Double-Edged Sword: Art Of Karate For Young People (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Let's take the hard road!: A book on strength for young men, (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Teach Me About the Life of Jesus: Discussions and Activities for Young Children (I Am Special : Teach Me About Series) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
The AP Interview: Japan minister urges vaccines for young have 1971 words, post on www.chron.com at July 28, 2021. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.