A gymnasium is used as a mass vaccination center for the elderly in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. Photo: REUTERS/Rocky Swift
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City in Fukushima uses tsunami lessons for COVID-19 vaccinations

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By Rocky Swift

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I don't know if it's just me. Every photo I see of Japan's "mass vaccine" venues there are about a dozen health workers and maybe 3 or 4 people there to get their shots. At this rate it will be 2025 before Japan reaches "surge" status. Maybe Japan ought to jettison the octogenarian politicians and get some progressive people in charge.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Well, use whatever method works, just get the shots out there.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Soma's leaders and doctors, drawing on 2011 lessons, began drafting plans and running inoculation drills in December, months before vaccines were approved.

People that have endured tragedies and disasters know very well the value of preparation and quick action, this is an example for the national government. Opportune preparations, simplifying things, supporting the people that need help, not endless meetings to fight about irrelevant details.

I hope the people that are responsible for this very positive actions have a long career in public administration and maybe even get to work at the national level, of course it would not guarantee they would get things done as easily as in the local level, but they would definitely improve things compared with now.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Cool Japan? Slow Japan more like.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@lordoffys I don't know if it's just me. Every photo I see of Japan's "mass vaccine" venues there are about a dozen health workers and maybe 3 or 4 people there to get their shots.

You probably aren't wrong. The demand for the vaccine in Japan is VERY low. That is why they are opening it up to under 65 sooner than originally estimated.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Canada has no domestic vaccine supply, yet they've managed to give 65% at least one shot.

Japan has no excuse. None.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I am witnessing first-hand, and hearing from others, shameful incompetence in making the vaccinations accessible to residents. The one exception is the Ministry of Defense. You log on to their website and can get an appointment at Otemachi (for people in greater Kanto) in three minutes flat, on a time/date that's convenient. Likewise for the second jab, the time for which is assigned upon request immediately after the first. I would recommend the Self-Defense Force venue to anybody who's frustrated with the rollout in their own area. Nice to see there's at least one organization that doesn't have its head up its fundament.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

lordoflysToday  06:44 am JST

I don't know if it's just me. Every photo I see of Japan's "mass vaccine" venues there are about a dozen health workers and maybe 3 or 4 people there to get their shots. 

Perhaps we see what we want to see. In the mentioned photo, there are three lanes for shots. In Lane 1, four are being processed (paperwork) and four who have completed processing are in line to get the shot from the doctor/nurse. In Lane 2, two are being processed and seven have completed processing. In Lane 3, four are being processed, and three have completed processing. 24 awaiting shots, 18 health care workers assisting (granted, a lot of health care workers).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They are not "vaccines", they are "emergency vaccines" and should only be used on very elderly or high risk groups.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

theloniusToday  08:46 am JST

Canada has no domestic vaccine supply, yet they've managed to give 65% at least one shot.

Japan has no excuse. None.

You can't administer vaccines to 65% of the public if they don't want them. So many people here are on the fence, especially young people. There is simply a lack of demand. Japan didn't start their nation-wide inoculation until late May. As a percentage they haven't vaccinated many, but in a couple of months they have administrated enough to cover Canadian adults first dose (over 20M jabs). If they maintain a 1M dose per day schedule the situation will improve greatly. It already is getting better.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Interesting that Kenji Shibuya, who is I think an epidemiologist based in the UK, for resigning his academic post and offering his services to a local government to help them organise. I'm guessing that his expertise was a huge help in the success of the programme. Respect to him for putting his money where his mouth is.

When I contrast the leadership of some Tohoku and Fukushima local governments in the wake of the nuclear disaster with the bumbling national Covid response, it makes me think 'Is this the place I want to be when the Big One hits?' It is scary, as unlike local governments, I don't believe the national government has learnt a thing about disaster response from 3/11.

It's interesting to hear about the MoD programme. @NCIS reruns, do you know if you need to have got a voucher in the post from your local government to book? Is it open to anyone yet?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When some older patients got flustered being asked to turn left or right for their shots, staff improvised with cartoon posters on the walls: face the bunny for an injection in your right arm, turn to the doggy to get it in the left arm.

Amazing !

That should get a patent I am impressed.

No need for any useless protocols outside the health ones.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“The demand for the vaccine in Japan is VERY low.”

Thank goodness for that. There may be some hope after all

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

“They are not "vaccines", they are "emergency vaccines" and should only be used on very elderly or high risk groups.”

Exactly and in trial phase until 2023.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

I don't know if it's just me. Every photo I see of Japan's "mass vaccine" venues there are about a dozen health workers and maybe 3 or 4 people there to get their shots. 

People need to learn about Japanese laws.

In Theory Unless written permission is given, you cannot actually take someone's picture in public.

Printing someone's picture in the news could lead to legal problems.

This is why we often see Japanese news blurring the faces of people on the street in many reports or just using old already accepted stock footage.

Far easier to just take a photo before many arrive, government staff are fair game, so if one or two regular members of the public are in the photo it is easier to blur their faces to hide their identity than to do it with hundreds even thousands.

It is not anything more than just normal practice in Japanese news.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

“They are not "vaccines", they are "emergency vaccines" and should only be used on very elderly or high risk groups.”

Exactly and in trial phase until 2023

You may be fine with letting people die and business go bankrupt because the transmission on the general population is not stopped, but the people in charge of public health consider that a very undesirable outcome. Young people being vaccinated lower importantly their risk, makes transmission of the pandemic more difficult and lets society slowly replace responsibly very expensive measures against the disease.

COVID Vaccines are much safer than the infection, and this applies not only to people with preexisting conditions.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

@Christopher Glen

Why are you so preoccupied in spreading fear?

If you don't want to get the vaccine fine but don't keep trying to frighten others it is non of your business.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan lags far behind other advanced economies in vaccinating its people - 12% have received at least one shot, according to a Reuters tracker, compared to France, the next lowest in the Group of Seven industrial powers at 42%, and the most advanced, Canada, at 63%.

That's great for Canada, but does that mean the UK is no longer a G7 member?

As for the Japanese government, they should be ashamed of themselves. Waiting for both the Olympics to be finished AND for their very own vaccine from a Japanese pharmo company which has yet to materialize, wasting a whole year while people die. Might as well wait until the cows come home.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

My 75 year old mother in-law couldn't do it, got her neighbor to help her. She gets her first shot July 17th. My wife an I live in Canada I get my second shot today and my wife will get both of her shots be before her mother gets her first shot. The wrong country is having the Olympics!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

COVID Vaccines are much safer than the infection, and this applies not only to people with preexisting conditions.

Many experts disagree with that opinion.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

...If they maintain a 1M dose per day schedule the situation will improve greatly. It already is getting better.

Why do you keep repeating something that is factually wrong? Japan has yet to reach 800,000 doses on a single day. Right now the average for the last two weeks should be somewhere between 700,000 and 750,000 doses per day (but I don't really feel like running the numbers right now).

They have reached the highest number so far on June 8 with 603,478 doses for the elderly and 161,922 doses for the medical workers, or 765,400 doses overall. It might look insignificant but it adds up over time. Even if you assume that the average is around 750,000 per day right now, you'd end up with roughly 1,750,000 doses less per week than you would if you actually administered 1 million doses per day. The number of doses administered to the elderly is slowly increasing which is obviously something positive. The doses administered to medical staff has dropped of though. Around the middle of May they were administering around 200,000 to 250,000 doses per weekday (less on the weekend) to medical workers but now they are down to roughly 140,000 to 160,000 doses per day (or in rare cases a few thousand more) since late May.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Antiquesaving

@Raw Beer

What it this obsession of yours @Christopher Glen and others to go around trying to frighten people from getting Vaccinated?

Ok you don't trust them fine!

If you don't what the vaccine then dont get it but stop trying to frighten others.

They can get their own information

What it this obsession of yours @virusrex and others to go around trying to frighten people into getting Vaccinated?

Ok you're in love with them fine!

If you want the vaccine then get it, but stop trying to frighten others.

They can get their own information

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

What it this obsession of yours @virusrex and others to go around trying to frighten people into getting Vaccinated?

Correcting mistaken information is not trying to frighten people, fortunately most people are now afraid of correct knowledge. For some reason some people have to resort to disinformation to try and convince others vaccines are not as safe and effective as they have demonstrated to be, this is not valid.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

If you yourself have accepted the EUA for children is necessary so those with high risk of complications and death from COVID can receive vaccines how come you think it is fine to criticize those that also think the same?

Lol .. but as we all know, I have accepted no such thing. Because the data does not support it. As I have repeatedly presented.

I don’t criticize anyone. I only point out where ridiculous claims and unsupported statements are made in the name of Science. A science experiment to be more specific.

I only posted a link to some questions that many others pose. And now you insinuate that I have a “mistaken impression” concerning civil liberties?

I apologize if I have presented some simple questions and you have yet again drifted off topic in an effort to deflect the discussion.

I just assumed that the people whose health had been damaged by these vaccines were also members requiring protection.

Do you believe that those family members (the younger ones) must be subjected to a risk of serious injury to protect others? Show me the data where this is true.

You cannot. And you have no clue. And neither do the drug makers. That’s why the EUA classification.

Once again, the unfounded fear seems to reside on your side of an unsupported argument.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Lol .. but as we all know, I have accepted no such thing. Because the data does not support it. As I have repeatedly presented.

Of course you did

In your own words.

The small minority at risk from Covid-19 should have theses vaccines made available to them ASAP. And it’s 100% their choice to receive them.

This obviously include children that are at risk from COVID because of their preexisting conditions (asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiencies, etc.), that can make even milder respiratory infections dangerous. The only way for those children to "have these vaccines available to them ASAP" is the EUA for them.

I mean, you can contradict yourself now if you want, but you have accepted vulnerable children should receive the vaccines, that means you support them getting the EUA.

Do you believe that those family members (the younger ones) must be subjected to a risk of serious injury to protect others? Show me the data where this is true.

What are you talking about? children at high risk of complications and death from COVID need the vaccines to be protected, there is no identified risk from vaccines that even compares with what they get from respiratory infections and COVID in particular, no "others" to protect in this. Are you again trying to attribute to others comments that only happened in your imagination? same as when you imagined I said that none of the mRNA vaccines entered the blood torrent?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

In my own words? Please try and remain focused.

Those are your words, be free to contradict yourself. You have not presented any data about lack of deaths of children with preexisting conditions, you have not presented even proof of them getting infected. You just like to assume something that is not there. Sorry children do require vaccines according to their families and pediatricians, and you going back on your own words to make no sense do not change that. You yourself justified the EUA.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

“You may be fine with letting people die and business go bankrupt because the transmission on the general population is not stoppe”

No, I’m not. But I am against deaths caused by side effects from vaccines still in trial phase.

Bankrupting businesses is a product of lockdowns and excessive measures taken, against a virus that has been blown way out of proportion by the media.

Yes. People die from a variety of ailments and diseases out there - which are all being put aside for a virus that is little more dangerous than the flu.

I am against destroying businesses and sparking suicide due to lockdowns. But if causing more deaths to to vaccine side effects is the alternative, I say wait till the vaccines are safer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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