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Japan opens mass coronavirus vaccination sites for elderly people ahead of the Olympics

Japan opened mass vaccination centers today, Monday, as the country races to vaccinate most of its elderly population against the Corona virus, before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, according to Reuters and the National Post website.

Centers in Tokyo and Osaka will vaccinate thousands of people every day, giving a boost to a slow vaccination campaign in Japan as officials battle a fourth wave of infections.

"You'd better get it early," said Tetsuya Orano, 66, who was among the first to be vaccinated in Tokyo.

The Tokyo facility will work 12 hours a day to dispense doses to about 10,000 people a day for the next three months.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on the centers last month to speed up the vaccination process in the country, and large-scale vaccination sites run by local governments have also opened in Aichi, Miyagi and Gunma prefectures.

The fourth wave of injuries prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency covering most of the country, including Tokyo, raising some concerns about the Olympic Games due to begin on July 23.

Reuters added that the emergencies in most regions are scheduled to end on May 31, but the government plans to extend them until June 20, when only 4.4 percent of Japan's population of 125 million received at least one vaccine dose, according to Reuters global tracking The slowest rate among the largest rich countries in the world.

Japan started the vaccination campaign in mid-February, later than most major economies, the campaign was slowed at first due to insufficient supplies of imported doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, but even as shipments increased, the offering process was hampered by the agency said. Shortage of manpower and malfunctions in the reservation system.

Mass vaccination centers for the elderly are using the Moderna vaccine, which was approved on Friday, along with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Johnson Corporation said on Monday it had applied for regulatory approval for its single-dose filter and could begin supplying the country in early 2022.