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Japan plans mass vaccination as Olympic doubts rise | News on the coronavirus pandemic



Media reports that the mass vaccination could be over by June, as public resistance to the Games grows.

Japan aims to start vaccinating the general public against the coronavirus in May, just two months before the start of the delayed Olympics, as more and more doubts emerge that the event will even take place this year.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said the government hopes the majority of adults will be vaccinated by July, when the Games are due to open.

About 10,000 medical workers will be the first to receive a free inoculation, with the program scheduled to start next month, senior government officials said, followed by 50 million people at risk, including those with underlying illnesses and the elderly. over 65 years old.

Ministers hope to start mass immunization in May at the earliest, Yomiuri and Sankei Shimbun newspapers reported, citing anonymous government sources.

The Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony is six months away, but a surge in COVID-19 infections in Japan and around the world has cast further doubt on the event.

Public support for the Olympics has plummeted, with more than 80% of those polled in Japan recently saying they should be canceled or postponed again.

Senior sports officials have also joined those wondering if the games will take place given the surge in coronavirus cases from the Americas to Europe.

Keith Mills, who was vice chairman of the London 2012 organizing committee, said that “looking at the pandemic around the world” it seemed “unlikely” that the games could go as planned.

“If I was sitting in the shoes of the organizing committee in Tokyo, and luckily I am not, I would be making plans for a cancellation,” Mills told the BBC.

“I’m sure they have plans for a cancellation, but I think they’ll leave it at the last minute in case the situation improves significantly and the vaccines get faster.”

“It’s a difficult call and I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes.”

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged on Monday that preparations for the event will continue despite growing public opposition and an increase in coronavirus cases.

Sebastian Coe, head of World Athletics, who was the chairman of the 2012 organizing committee, told Sky News he did not think the Games would be canceled and gave his support to Japan.

“Of all the countries on the planet that really have the courage, the resilience and the street intelligence to make it happen, it is actually Japan,” he said.

“I wake up as the president of the federation really grateful that Japan is taking care of this and not other places I can think of. So I’m sure we’ll be there.

Organizers have adapted the event to take into account the spread of the virus – limiting the time athletes spend in the athletes’ country and village as well as the number allowed to attend the opening and closing ceremonies.

They said the Games could go ahead even without vaccination.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said he will be among the first to be vaccinated in Japan, in a bid to boost public confidence in the coup.




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