Japan has ramped up mass vaccination in both Tokyo and Osaka as there is a massive covid surge in the country. The elderly are being prioritized in the vaccination centers set up by the military. Thousands of shots are being offered in these centers every day. The vaccination drives in Japan started late and in addition to that delay, there were problems like organizational hurdles and supply shortages. Which has resulted in Japan lagging behind other developed nations in vaccination records with only a 1.9% fully vaccinated population.
With the latest surge, the healthcare system of Japan is overwhelmed as hospitals are running out of medical services like beds and ventilators. In order to give regional authorities more power to implement necessary measures against the pandemic, large parts of Japan are under a state of emergency. Defense forces in Japan are running the mass vaccination drives and these drives are scheduled over a period of the next three months.
There is tremendous pressure to call off the games that start in July as the country has recorded more than 700,000 infections and 12,000 deaths from the virus. The target for the office as of now is to vaccinate 5,000 people in Tokyo and 2,500 in Osaka every day. These numbers are expected to be doubled in June and July. Cities like Kobe and Nagoya are also expected to have mass vaccination facilities after Tokyo and Osaka. Authorities believe that people aged 65 and above will be completely vaccinated by the end of July.
Many hospitals in the country are facing problems amid the covid surge because of the overwhelming number of cases and shortage of beds and medical staff. Hospitals that are private enterprises generally do not have the financial capacity to secure medical services for severe cases. And the hospitals that do have the capacity to deal with such overwhelming numbers of patients also have to deal with other emergency and severe cases.
Even though Japan managed to avoid major outbreaks of covid-19 from the beginning, the data in recent weeks shows a constant increase in the cases. Tokyo has a weekly average of 650 cases per day, making it Japan’s biggest covid hotspot. Japan’s second city, Osaka is facing similar issues as the hospitals in the city are running out of beds and ventilators. Osaka has an average of around 500 cases per day.