Japan launches mass Covid vaccination amid public pressure against Olympics

Photo: AP

Japan opened its first mass vaccination centres on Monday in a bid to speed up a cautious Covid-19 inoculation programme with just two months until Tokyo Olympics, news wires reported. The two military-run centres in Tokyo and Osaka will administer thousands of shots daily, initially to elderly residents of the cities, as the country battles a fourth wave of virus cases.

Criticism has been mounting over the relatively slow rollout. Just 2% of Japan's population of 125m are fully vaccinated so far.

Tokyo, Osaka and eight other regions are under a virus state of emergency curbing commercial activities until the end of May, with reports saying the measures could be extended for another three weeks.

Public opinion is largely opposed to holding the Olympics this summer but organisers insist the event can be held safely.

The majority of athletes and others staying in the Olympic village will be vaccinated before they enter Japan, but inoculation is not required to participate.

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