OSAKA–Osaka city has begun mass inoculations using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to speed up the pace of its rollout amid a shortage of Pfizer doses.
Health care workers began administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people on Aug. 23 at Shiromi Hall inside Osaka-jo Hall in the city’s Chuo Ward.
The campaign is targeting city residents aged 40 or older.
But those aged between 18 and 39 are also eligible under certain conditions, according to city officials. Those include if the person is unable to receive doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of allergies, or if they have already been given their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine abroad.
Every Monday, the city’s website and call centers will accept AstraZeneca vaccination reservations for the following week.
The central government has supplied the AstraZeneca vaccine to Tokyo as well as Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Osaka and Okinawa prefectures, which have been under a state of emergency, ahead of other regions.
It had shipped all the doses for the six prefectures as of Aug. 16, according to the health ministry.
The government was initially planning to authorize AstraZeneca only for people aged 60 or older. But it did an about-face after the National Governors’ Association, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and government officials called for it to be used more widely because of a shortage of Pfizer and Moderna shipments.
The government had secured millions of AstraZeneca doses, but they had not been used in Japan due to concerns over rare blood clots reported in people who have received the shots.