With Tokyo Olympics Looming Large, Japan Ropes In Corporate Giants In An Attempt To Bolster Its Floundering Covid-19 Vaccination Plan

With Tokyo Olympics Looming Large, Japan Ropes In Corporate Giants In An Attempt To Bolster Its Floundering Covid-19 Vaccination PlanKono Taro, Japan's vaccination minister
Snapshot
  • The Japanese government has struggled to meet its inoculation targets. Just16 per cent of country’s population has been administered with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

    The vaccination drive has been hit by hesitancy among the population, manpower shortages and glitches in the online reservation systems.

Japan is roping in the country's corporate behemoths in an effort to accelerate its floundering Covid-19 vaccination effort ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, Reuters reported.

The Japanese government has struggled to meet its inoculation targets. Just 16 per cent of country's population has been administered with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Japan targets to administer jabs to all the elderly by the end of July and the rest of the adult population by November at the latest.

The vaccination drive has been hit by hesitancy among the population, manpower shortages and glitches in the online reservation systems.

Although Japan approved the first mRNA vaccine by Pfizer–BioNtech on Feb 14, 2021, which was the only available vaccine in the country as of April, 2021, there were several months of delay in approval compared with other high-income countries due to the regulatory requirement for a domestic clinical trial involving Japanese citizens and its own review process.

Japan made contracts with Pfizer–BioNtech to import 194 million doses of vaccine by the end of 2021 but could not commence imports due to delays and disruptions in global supply chain.

Private Sector Participation In Vaccination Campaign

The Japanese government will subsidize ¥2,070 for each vaccine dose administered by large companies with over 1,000 employees,

Private sector companies like Toyota Motor Corp to telecom and investing giant SoftBank Group Corp will be setting up clinic and launching vaccination drive beginning today (June 21).

Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways also announced last week that they aim to start vaccinating their employees on June 21, with priority given to pilots and flight attendants.

Other companies preparing to vaccinate their employees include Itochu Corp, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co, East Japan Railway Co.Honda Motor Co., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp and SoftBank Group Corp.

Financial services companies including Nomura Holdings Inc., Daiwa Securities Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., among others — are reportedly looking to follow suit.

An estimated 2,300 private companies have applied to set up vaccination centres that will give shots to about 11 million people, mainly their employees, family members and nearby residents.

On April 12, Japan, which has a population of 120 million, started vaccinating older people age 65 or above after priority was given to inoculating healthcare workers first—involving around 4.8 million doctors and nurses.

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