Omicron Proven Deadly in Japan
The Omicron variant of the corona virus in Japan is considered more virulent than other countries. Experts and local governments say this is triggered by delays in the launch of booster vaccines, which makes people more vulnerable than other countries.
This could mean political trouble for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as nearly 30% of the population aged 65 or over have not received a boost. So there is a greater risk of contracting the corona virus without protection.
This came to light when the mayor of Soma City in northern Japan and the chairman of the national association of city leaders, Hidekiyo Tachiya, met Kishida in October 2021 to press for an early start of boosters. But nothing was given until December.
Boosters are also only given to doctors and health workers. This is believed by some doctors to make citizens more vulnerable.
“If they tell us in November that six months is enough, then in Soma we can get injections from December, and for that I feel annoyed,” a doctor named Tachiya told Reuters.
“If it had been sooner, there wouldn’t have been so much suffering and so many people wouldn’t have died.”
In dire need of a much more faster reaction of the booster, but alas failed nonetheless
Authorities in Tokyo are also pushing for a faster booster. But it didn’t work.
“We asked for the next shot as soon as possible but the government did not agree,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters recently.
Some blame the Japanese Ministry of Health. This was linked to an eight-month gap between vaccines by the health sciences council.
The system was modified in December and January to respond to the Omicron threat. However, the head of vaccines under the previous administration, Taro Kono, said the problem was the slow-moving civil service.
“What has failed is the health ministry,” Kono said.
“I told the Prime Minister’s Office you have to be careful because the ministry of health won’t help you… You really have to whip them to get things moving.”
Now… What can they do?
Kono says intervention is the key to getting things done quickly. He recalls courting Pfizer executives to ensure faster delivery of the vaccine, in the hope that the move would help speed supplies.
While Japan has been relatively slow to launch its initial vaccination campaign, speeding it up is paying off. So last November, Japan had the highest vaccination rate in the Group of Seven (G-7) rich countries.
But then the health ministry stuck to the protocol of waiting eight months between the first and booster vaccination courses, even as other countries cut waiting times. Of course local governments, including Tokyo, are pressing for a faster launch.
The minimum wait was eventually shortened to six months, still longer than three months in South Korea and five months in Singapore. Only 10% of the Japanese population gets a third injection, compared to more than 50% in South Korea and Singapore.
According to Worldometers, Japan now has a cumulative total of 4,055,675 infections with a total of 20,701 deaths. Yesterday Japan recorded 79,896 new cases with 207 deaths
Book Pigeon Week Ads Spot
Uniswap Protocol Token