A medical worker receives a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Tokyo Metropolitan Cancer and Infectious Diseases Center Komagome Hospital in Tokyo on Friday. Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via AP
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COVID-19 inoculations in Japan off to snail pace start due to vaccine, syringe shortages

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By Rocky Swift

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Should i cry or laugh ?

42 ( +43 / -1 )

"Japan has secured rights to at least 564 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the largest volume in Asia,"

and that say it all. It does not matter what pace you go at. The facts are that Japan has enough and then some. Moreover, it is not Japan's fault that the EU played politics with vaccines.

-49 ( +4 / -53 )

Japan and the rest of the world more like. Vaccinations are only really going pretty fast in the UK and the US, and well, that is just the laws of the land. Let’s be pleased they are at least unrolling.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Absolutely pathetic. Nothing else to say.

45 ( +47 / -2 )

Japan that's so good at wastefully using plastic at every possible turn can't manage to spare a little for production of syringes? lol

35 ( +36 / -1 )

It does not matter what pace you go at.

It does matter though. People are dying of this. It is a PANDEMIC. I also would like to be able to go home and see my family that I haven’t been able to see since all this started and I’m pretty sure there are many, many others out there feeling the same.

37 ( +40 / -3 )

The condition of so called highly advanced and developed country makes me feel sad.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

have subsided from a daily peak of 2,520 on Jan 7 to 237 on March 7.

That's a miracle, given that nothing was done. It would be worth investigating how that happened.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

It would almost be faster to go home and get the J&J vaccine and come back (although it would be a hassle logistically).

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to have enough for the whole population by June

That's literally the Joke of the Year. Not even the top vaccination countries are making such a ridiculous and far-fetched pledge.

28 ( +31 / -3 )

First it was a freezer shortage, now this. Will this Gov't ever be able to do anything right? By the time I am able to get my vaccine I will dead, however as a Taxpayer I still want it.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

@zoroto.

have subsided from a daily peak of 2,520 on Jan 7 to 237 on March 7.

That's a miracle, given that nothing was done. It would be worth investigating how that happened.

That would be called #fakenews, deflating the numbers "hoping" the J-Gov't can rally the 80% of those that oppose the Olympics to flip so they can have 80% of the public support it. Problem with this is, even Japanese people don't trust their own Government.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Don't worry everyone, we will all get innoculated in due time. But we all have to remember where the government's priorities lie - with those #$%&! Olympics.

And by the way I have to say, hey J Gov, get over your past failures and realize that the majority of the public wants these vaccines and they want them now. Stop testing on a couple hundred Japanese and trust the numbers from all the studies being conducted on tens of thousands of people. Trust the science behind the reliable vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Astra-Zeneca) and get us the shots you promised us. I think we need a Biden type administration to be put in place so we can get back to normalcy. I am only in my early 50s but at this rate I will be lucky to get my vaccine before I retire.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

I am not exaggerating when I say this, but I don't think everybody in Japan will be vaccinated before summer of 2022.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

@Zoroto: Biden has pledged to have enough shots of vaccine secured by the end of May for the population of the US. I actually thought the US was doing quite well with vaccinations thus far - so, Biden's statement was far-fetched and ridiculous?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Meanwhile, more universities are pushing for a return to on-campus classes. Is this wise?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japan has always had barriers up to stop overseas drug companies from competing here and now this system is biting Japan in the arse as their hands are tied. Time for a change or at least be flexible during these difficult times.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

@theresident

You are wrong! Biden said they can jab up to 1.5 million people a day with the Vaccine.

https://youtu.be/Zz-cEe-2-2M

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Japan has not the large numbers of obese that other countries have and thus there hasn’t been a large number of deaths from the virus

-10 ( +13 / -23 )

Biden's statement was far-fetched and ridiculous?

That's a 2 1/2 months away, so yes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan has not the large numbers of obese that other countries have and thus there hasn’t been a large number of deaths from the virus

What does that have to do with anything? If you are comparing it to other countries, Korea which is much further along in vaccinations, as per the article, have also had much fewer deaths, exactly half per capita, in fact.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Absolutely pathetic !

23 ( +24 / -1 )

Most people don't need the the jab anyway.

-23 ( +3 / -26 )

They KNEW about the problems from LONG ago regarding the syringes, and it is almost criminal that no one in authority (Kono) did anything about it!

Heads should be rolling!

21 ( +21 / -0 )

that underscore the enormous challenge it faces in its aim to vaccinate every adult by the year's end.

This is BS. They don't need to do that and it's anyway unrealistic. They need first to vaccine the vulnerable population which globally consists of the elderlies. Japan has 36 million people aged more than 65 years old. First they vaccine that population and then we will see. At this pace, this is not going tp happen tomorrow.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

No Ricky Sanchez - You are not reading Zoroto's incorrect statement. He is talking about securing enough vaccine for the population - not inoculating everybody. Pay attention.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Japan has not the large numbers of obese that other countries have and thus there hasn’t been a large number of deaths from the virus

Tell that to the over 8,000 people who died!

Oh and you want to "compare", Taiwan has reported 10 total deaths from COVID.

23 ( +23 / -0 )

Things progressing at a snail's pace in Japan? No, impossible..the land of decisive management, efficient meetings and nationwide meritocratic management structure?

46,000 in 3 weeks??? Yep, that's Japan...America on the other hand has the capacity for 1.5 million a day.

My son is half japanese, half british. I told him to plan for a future abroad as Japan is a rapidly dying empire. The only thing they can do quickly here is move slowly!

27 ( +27 / -0 )

No vaccines? No syringes? No problem. Just socially distance, wash your hands and above all properly wear your mask and everyone of us will get through this dark winter,

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Slowly is good. People are starting to die from vaccines.

-26 ( +7 / -33 )

@Ricky Sanchez: Incorrigible.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

At the current rate, it would take 126 years to vaccinate Japan's population of 126 million.

LOL.

Nothing to add.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

At the current rate, it would take 126 years to vaccinate Japan's population of 126 million.

By contrast, South Korea, which began its vaccinations a week later than Japan, had administered nearly seven times more shots as of Sunday.

Shame on the bunglers running this country.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Japan's COVID-19 inoculation campaign is moving at a glacial pace, hampered by a lack of....

Par for course.... everything in Japan moves at snail pace, all the useless oyajis in charge here of govt and bureaucracy here are just unable to do anything right...advanced country"...what a joke.

By contrast, South Korea, which began its vaccinations a week later than Japan, had administered nearly seven times more shots as of Sunday.

Pathetic, once again Japan left in the dust by it's Asian neighbors...bring this up next time Japan,s supposed " superiority" comes in a conversation.

Moreover, it is not Japan's fault that the EU played politics with vaccines.

Every other country is facing same issues re EU vaccine supplies yet they are all outperforming Japan in the vaccination drive so the usual " gaikoku is at fault" J- excuse is irrelevant. LDP govt bottomless incompetency once again on display for all to see.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Pfff... This isn't happening is it ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If it wasn't that serious and at the same time embarrassing, I'd laugh about these news. Way to go, Japan!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

@himari Yanada and who would like to blame for the insufficient supply of syringes or why S korea is making faster progress ?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Can't they use this method to extract 6 doses?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300240735/covid19-kiwi-ingenuity-finds-how-to-draw-all-doses-of-vaccine-from-pfizer-vials-without-special-syringe

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He is talking about securing enough vaccine for the population - not inoculating everybody. 

Lol. What's the purpose of securing enough vaccines, but not inoculating everybody?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

No vaccines? No syringes? No problem. Just socially distance, wash your hands and above all properly wear your mask and everyone of us will get through this dark winter,

No problem? How do I take my young children to see their aging grandparents overseas?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Slowly is good. People are starting to die from vaccines.

Um, how to say this..... No! No they absolutely are not.

This comment is so absurdly false and contrary to an intelligent exchange of ideas as to merit moderation.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

TokyoJoeToday  06:31 pm JST

No vaccines? No syringes? No problem. Just socially distance, wash your hands and above all properly wear your mask and everyone of us will get through this dark winter,

No problem? How do I take my young children to see their aging grandparents overseas?

If their aging grandparents are already vaccinated, what's there to worry about? They safe, right?

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

By contrast, South Korea, which began its vaccinations a week later than Japan, had administered nearly seven times more shots as of Sunday.

As bad as the Korean gov is on a normal day, the LDP inepts make them positively look like a bunch of geniuses. That's truly an amazing accomplishment.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

If their aging grandparents are already vaccinated, what's there to worry about? They safe, right?

Oh dear, where to begin.....

While the elderly are the most likely to get seriously ill and die, they are not being the main vectors of transmission. The demographic most likely to spread the virus are those aged 20-40s. Thus the rapid vaccination of the general population is the best way to break the chain of transmission.

Furthermore, viruses cannot mutate if they cannot infect new hosts. While current vaccines prove effective against known variants, this may not prove true in the future. Thus, the best way to protect against mutation is rapid vaccination of the general population while current vaccines are effective.

Finally, just because the young are less likely to get seriously ill does not mean they never get seriously ill. The best way to limit the incidence of serious illness and death of all age segments is, you guessed it, the rapid vaccination of the general population.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Slowly is good. People are starting to die from vaccines

@goodlucktoyou

Good luck to you with your way of thinking.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Agreed William.

Government dropping the ball from Day 1.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

If Japanese stop giving excuses. Japan will get better.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Seriously what has Japan done well since COVID-19 started? Keeping them on the boat, low testing, no testing, go to travel, go to eat, go to jail, go to hospital.... oops we're full. Go back home. Try gargling. It's like a comedy bit. But no-one's laughing.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

syringe shortages

As Milton Friedman said, if the government were put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would soon be a shortage of sand.

we need more free markets

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Japan requires clinical trials for new medicines, including vaccines, to be conducted with Japanese patients, slowing down the approval process.

How many of you foreigners give a hoot about this blatant protectionist policy?

As a foreigner by birth and race, trials on Japanese people have no meaning for me, so where is my free market vaccine?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Shortages of syringes, that is crazy. I hope they are doing more vaccinations per day than they were doing testing. Being an advanced industrial nation, this is beyond my understanding.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Once upon a time Kono was minister of foreign affairs, but he bungled the SK file so badly he became the minister of hankos. These he supposedly abolished but they were still happily tapping away at my ward office last week.

So he was demoted again to the minister of syringes. These high tech objects he seems incapable of procuring. As for vaccines he was last in line to put all Japan's eggs in the same US Pfizer basket, then blames the EU for his incompetence.

Japan's most popular candidate for the next PM.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

This shows were the priority goes for these cronies,for sure not the health of common people.

And some people should stop blaming foreigners

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This well written story from abroad pretty much sums up the whole Japanese situation from the possibility to a next wave, the variants, vaccinations and government action. Anybody still thinking the olympics is a sure thing may need to rethink.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japan-vaccine-delay-coronavirus-variants/2021/03/06/2a0248cc-7b65-11eb-8c5e-32e47b42b51b_story.html

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In 126 years, will Japan have a population?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

It’s all so crazy...For example, if they explicitly say the vial is for five (or ten) injections, how can anyone come on such a completely stupid idea to extract six or seven doses (or twelve) with what syringe or method ever, only to raise the published numbers and distribute more vaccinations? That’s surely the craziest nonsense ever and endangers the whole global vaccination process. The producers have a distinct reason for saying that the contents is equivalent to five doses , respectively another producer the ten doses. I could and would explain it, but it’s of no use anymore and I’m tired...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Shame on the bunglers running this country.

Shame on the people who voted for the bunglers.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Greetings from Germany. I feel your pain. Similarly shameful situation over here. My momentary interim solution: 酒は百薬の長  Sake is the best of a hundred medicines (old Japanese proverb)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

During the aftermath of the 3/11 tsunami and earthquake, I was involved in trying to obtain medicines and medical supplies from overseas for the devastated regions, requests from physicians and clinics in the area and through professional connections. The official response from one government was that Japan was regarded as a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, and that the issue was not of supply, but of distribution. They asserted that adequate medicines and medical supplies were available around the country, but no-one, or very few, would deliver it there. Hence the cries for help.

With the current situation, shortages and lack of urgency, Japan hardly seems like a major manufacturer of medicines and medical supplies.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Give it to those who want it first please.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If there were an Olympics for incompetent vaccine rollout, Japan would walk away with the gold medals.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japan-vaccine-delay-coronavirus-variants/2021/03/06/2a0248cc-7b65-11eb-8c5e-32e47b42b51b_story.html

Great article. I forwarded it to all my friends.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You really have to hand the Gold-Medal to them, the World's Masters of Procrastination !!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So, if this pace keeps up, it's going to take them 5.4 years to do all the medical staff? And only then will they start on the elderly and vulnerable?

I don't quite know how Japan is lucking out on the low case numbers, but I really hope it continues for the next 10 years!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

From the washington post article:

Meanwhile, Japan’s Health Ministry erected barriers in the way of vaccine suppliers by demanding they conduct clinical trials inside Japan. Those trials, of about 160 to 200 people for each vaccine, are so small as to be scientifically meaningless but have slowed down the approval process, experts say.

Oh good grief.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Is anyone shocked? Really?

Japan = The place where people LOVE to waste time and get NOTHING accomplished in an appropriate amount of time.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Take your time, there's no rush. More than half of the population don't even want it anyway.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

So, if this pace keeps up

Yeah, because no logical person could ever think that they would get more efficient and speed up the pace as they start to ramp up something that's being done for the first time on a few months notice. I mean, puh-leeze.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The only place where vaccinations are going speedily is in the UK, yet “resident experts” only have eyes for Japan’s deficiencies!

In terms of the percentage of population fully vaccinated, there are lots of countries ahead of the UK (partly because Britain decided to extend the time between doses in order to get the first shot to more people), but yes, the UK is doing really well. Shouldn't Japan be comparing itself with the best, and aiming to do the same, rather than languishing somewhere near the bottom of the table?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

GoodlucktoyouMar. 8 05:21 pm JST

Slowly is good. People are starting to die from vaccines.--------------

Not starting to die- they are dying. There are certain doctors worldwide warning of the dangers of the vaccine. If people really want a vaccine, only take a Japanese or Russian one as they would not have nefarious substances in them. I would never take any vaccine. So called Covid is a more severe flu which is now petering out.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yeah, because no logical person could ever think that they would get more efficient and speed up the pace as they start to ramp up something that's being done for the first time on a few months notice. I mean, puh-leeze.

Which would probably be why I started the sentence with the phrase 'if this pace keeps up...', wouldn't it?

I assume it will speed up. Eventually. I don't think anyone really expects it to actually take 126 years. Though one never can tell...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps the vaccine rollout has been slow in Japan because she has seen a much lower incidence of covid infections than the US and Britain. If the need for the vaccines were more dire, the government might have pushed harder to get the inoculation program going.

I got my second Pfizer shot last week, at the Disneyland parking lot. I had to be treated by paramedics. Almost immediately after the shot I got dizzy and had shortness of breath. They wanted me to go to hospital, but I declined, since I was conscious and had no actual pain. A few hours later I thought to use an inhaler, and the symptoms alleviated. I am now thinking that I had a minor asthma attack. I have not read anything on the internet about that happening to anyone else.

Talked with a number of my neighbors who have gotten the second Moderna shot, which in this area seems to me more prevalent. Three neighbors told me that after the second shot they felt sick for a few days, but that they are fine now. One stayed in bed for three days, and had to miss work, where she works with covid patients. Some neighbors said they had no reaction to the shot.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not starting to die- they are dying. There are certain doctors worldwide warning of the dangers of the vaccine. If people really want a vaccine, only take a Japanese or Russian one as they would not have nefarious substances in them. I would never take any vaccine. So called Covid is a more severe flu which is now petering out.

Literally every word in this statement is dis-information or a lie. Who are these “certain Drs. And what is their evidence linking vaccinations to deaths?

You cannot provide evidence beyond @I saw it on FB, because there isn’t any.

a Russian vaccine “without nefarious substances”, I men, the joke writes itself! No Phase 3 trials prior to release and most Russians don’t trust it Meanwhile, the US has 3, soon to be 4 vaccines that have been proven safe and effective by the gold standard of science

Covid is not a more serious version of the flu and will not “Peter out.”

I honestly cannot tell if you are a disinformation troll, or just deeply ignorant. In the end it doesn’t really matter. Spreading objectively untrue information is a danger to public health.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A promise from Suga, to inoculate the population by July, as empty a promise as has ever existed. The current government should be sacked - after 75 years of off & on rule they fail in a genuine time of crisis.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That's very bad and sad news. Japan is worldwide known by the good practices in planning and execution of challenges like this. Hard to believe that supplies were not purchased in the needed quantity

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

""The sense of urgency among the government is not, I think, similar to other G-7 countries," said Haruka Sakamoto, a physician and researcher at Keio University, noting Japan's comparatively low case numbers and death toll."

Japan is on the high end if you look at 17 countries of East Asia and SE Asia. Only Indonesia and the Philippines havea higher per capita dead toll.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tell that to the over 8,000 people who died!

Oh and you want to "compare", Taiwan has reported 10 total deaths from COVID.

While many countries around the world have had excess deaths during this pandemic (USA 500,000+, UK 100,000+, etc), Japan has not had an excess of deaths and in fact in 2020 had about 40,000 LESS deaths than in a normal year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Which would probably be why I started the sentence with the phrase 'if this pace keeps up...', wouldn't it?

You started with an "if", as if it was a possibility, rather than exactly what will happen.

I assume it will speed up.

Then why did you start your sentence with "if"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@robert maes: Should i cry or laugh ?

I know I probably shouldn't but I can't help but laugh at "Japan has secured rights to at least 564 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines" but then forgot to order enough syringes and at "At the current rate, it would take 126 years to vaccinate Japan's population of 126 million" even ignoring any boosters that may be required.

Then again, I am still laughing at Mori's comments about women talking too much in meetings and in his apology saying he doesn't listen to women.

I know it is not PC, but I still find myself laughing at such incompetence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Half of the vaccinations I see given on TV are done wrong. See a good example, watch US President Biden get his vaccination. When you administer a 'shot' it should be planned ahead, go straight in be injected with the plunger, and pulled straight out in a fluid motion. It should not be wiggled around or bent while changing hands. I see many people in Japan retracting the plunger after the needle is inserted. That's a totally old way to do it and is not necessary. In fact, it damages the tissue (muscle) in this case. Also, many people don't seem to know how to draw from a vial. You don't pull on the plunger so hard that you cause the fluid to boil (which it will do when a vacuum is drawn). A lot of people need a lot of refresher classes and practice. I'd rather they not do it on us!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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