Nikkei wrote that according to the GOJ, some 10.37 million Japanese had received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a total of 34.4 million doses had been administered as of June 22. Close to half of the people aged 65 or older had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Perhaps as a result of the vaccine rollout, the proportion of the elderly among new cases dropped from 17% in late May to 11% in the past few days. Hospital occupancy rates for seriously ill patients have also declined markedly in prefectures with high vaccination rates, such as Saga and Wakayama. The percentage of cluster infections that occurred at medical facilities plummeted from 30% on Feb. 15 to 3% on June 21. The Health Ministry attributed the plunge to the vaccination of a large number of healthcare workers in the spring.
In a related story, Sankei highlighted a comment made by Administrative Reform Minister Kono on a TV show on Wednesday expressing hope that Japan will achieve herd immunity in October or November.
Meanwhile, Yomiuri spotlighted the Health Ministry announcement yesterday that a man in his 90s died due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage a day after receiving the Moderna vaccine, saying that this was the first confirmed death in Japan of a person after being vaccinated with the Moderna product. The ministry is reportedly evaluating whether the product triggered the brain hemorrhage. According to the ministry, a total of 355 people have died after receiving the Pfizer vaccine in Japan. The ministry is currently examining whether there was a causal relationship between vaccination and death for 78 out of the 355 cases, but such a relationship has been ruled out for the rest of the cases.