All national papers reported on Administrative Reform Minister Kono’s announcement on Wednesday night that beginning this weekend the central government will stop accepting applications from municipal governments, universities, and corporations for launching COVID-19 vaccination platforms because of the looming possibility of a shortage of the Moderna vaccine following the submission of a large number of such applications. According to the minister, while the GOJ has secured 50 million doses of the Moderna vaccine through the end of September, 45 million of them have already been committed for use at various facilities. The GOJ has already received some 3,700 applications for launching vaccination centers that will cover almost 15 million people.
Mainichi wrote that the vaccine rollout is apparently proceeding more rapidly than the GOJ had anticipated, with an unnamed Kantei official expressing confidence that the GOJ will be able to achieve Prime Minister Suga’s goal of fully vaccinating the elderly by the end of July and most Japanese by the end of November. The daily added that demand for vaccines is likely to exceed supply, forcing the GOJ to review its priorities for delivery.
In related stories, Mainichi and Yomiuri reported that the Health Ministry is weighing the use of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by UK drug giant AstraZeneca for people aged 60 or older in view of the advice of some health experts that the product should not be excluded from domestic use despite foreign data suggesting the occasional occurrence of blood clots among younger people.