Japan to launch mass vaccination scheme for university students

Japan plans to promote mass COVID-19 vaccinations among university students using vaccination venues operated by municipalities, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday.

The plan to vaccinate students at such venues with available slots is aimed at accelerating booster vaccinations among young people, lagging in receiving the shots. The central government will pay part of the costs to implement the plan.

Kishida presented the plan to reporters after a meeting with relevant ministers at the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss measures to address the recent rebound in new COVID-19 cases.

“Signs of a resurgence can be seen” in the current state of infections, he said, adding every citizen should cooperate in preventing a rapid spread of the coronavirus.

He pointed to the importance of vaccinations especially among young people amid an increase in the proportion of infected people in their 20s.

Kishida urged the public to thoroughly implement basic prevention measures, such as avoiding closed, crowded and close-contact settings in addition to getting vaccinations, noting that “it is the season when opportunities to go out, such as parties and vacations, increase.”

He also called for active use of coronavirus testing in everyday life, including such occasions as group dining and business trips.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday. | KYODO
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday. | KYODO

The government will investigate whether the country’s 47 prefectures have strengthened their medical systems and will disclose the results, Kishida said.

He avoided making comments about a proposed government-subsidized event discount scheme for people who have received their booster shots, in view of the recent state of infections.

Kishida also had discussions with Shigeru Omi, head of the government’s expert panel on the COVID-19 crisis, and others the same day.

Omi advised the prime minister to consider the possibility of reinstating coronavirus quasi-emergency measures.

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