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Japan begins mass COVID booster programmes as Omicron surges

As Japan strives to speed up delayed third vaccination to combat growing Covid-19 infections, Tokyo has launched a mass inoculation effort for COVID-19 booster doses at a military-run temporary centre.

After delaying a decision to reduce the time between the first two coronavirus vaccinations and a booster to six months from the initial eight, Japan began delivering booster shots to medical personnel in December, but just 2.7 percent of the population has received them.

The demand for the shots is high: after starting online reservations on Friday, all slots for around 4,300 doses to be given at the centre this week were filled in within 9 minutes. Moderna, Inc. manufactures the vaccine, which is provided by the centre.

People who are aged 65 and older can get booster doses elsewhere on a smaller basis.

After closing in late November, the Self-Defense Force-run centre in downtown Tokyo reopened on Monday. This week, it will vaccinate roughly 720 individuals aged 18 and up per day, with the number increasing to more than 2,000 per day next month. In Osaka, a military-run facility will begin booster doses next week.


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