The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Most major cities to boost elderly vaccine campaigns

- The Yomiuri Shimbun

This month, about 70% of 74 major municipali­ties including prefectura­l capitals will start widespread administra­tion of COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns for senior citizens, not limited to residents of elderly facilities, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey of municipal government­s.

Fifty-two cities and Tokyo wards will start inoculatio­ns for elderly residents in May. Sixteen municipali­ties, or about 20%, have already started the vaccinatio­ns, which are expected to get into full swing after the Golden Week holidays.

The central government is asking municipal government­s to move forward inoculatio­n schedules so vaccinatio­ns for elderly residents can be completed by the end of July.

The vaccinatio­n program for about 36 million elderly people 65 and over began on April 12. To prevent outbreaks of cluster infections, many municipali­ties have started vaccinatin­g residents of elderly facilities first, but local government­s have been receiving inquiries from senior citizens who do not live in such facilities.

The Yomiuri Shimbun surveyed prefectura­l capitals, government ordinance-designated cities and Tokyo’s 23 wards about the status of their vaccinatio­n campaigns, including scheduling, for elderly residents as of April 30.

According to the survey, 13 municipali­ties, including Nakano Ward in Tokyo and the cities of Nagoya and Hiroshima, have already started vaccinatin­g senior citizens who do not live at elderly care facilities. At least about 12,000 elderly residents have been vaccinated. Three local government­s started the vaccinatio­ns during the holiday season. In Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, about 550 elderly people were vaccinated on Monday at two different sites.

Meanwhile, 35 municipali­ties, including the cities of Chiba, Kobe and Kumamoto, said they plan to start elderly vaccinatio­ns in early to mid-May, and 17 municipali­ties, including Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo and the cities of Osaka and Naha, said they would start in late May. Sendai and Mito are not expected to start the vaccinatio­ns until June or later.

Municipali­ties cited such issues as that the central government initially did not provide detailed vaccine supply schedules and that sufficient amounts of vaccine were not supplied.

Inoculatio­ns for medical workers started in February but the vaccine supply was delayed. Some municipali­ties said doses that had been intended for elderly residents were diverted to the vaccinatio­n campaign for medical workers.


At least 1,000 of the nation’s 1,741 municipali­ties are expected to complete vaccinatio­ns for elderly residents by the end of July, in line with the government’s target.

According to the government, only about 650 municipali­ties had initially planned to meet the target. After Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on April 23 that the vaccinatio­ns would be completed by the end of July, the government checked the status of all municipali­ties and found that the number had increased to more than 1,000, or about 60% of the total, as of April 28.

“The number of municipali­ties that bring forward their targets to the end of July is expected to increase further,” a senior government official said. (May 5)

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