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Large-scale COVID-19 vax centers start accepting reservations in Tokyo, Osaka

A large-scale coronavirus vaccination center is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Shu Hatakeyama)

TOKYO -- The Japanese Ministry of Defense began taking online reservations for large-scale coronavirus vaccinations for elderly residents in Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture on May 17, ahead of the opening of two mass inoculation centers in those areas on May 24.

    The reservations are being accepted via the ministry's special website or via the free messaging app Line. In a bid to avoid trouble possibly arising from access overload, the ministry is limiting those eligible to make reservations between May 17 and 23 to people aged 65 and above living in Tokyo's 23 special wards and the city of Osaka, and then plans to expand the eligibility in stages to those residing in the greater Tokyo and Osaka areas.

    In order to book shots at the inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka set to be operated by the Self-Defense Forces, vaccination vouchers distributed by local bodies are necessary for making reservation procedures. Telephone reservations are not accepted.

    A large-scale COVID-19 inoculation center is seen in Osaka's Kita Ward on May 3, 2021. (Mainichi/Tadashi Kako)

    At the Tokyo mass vaccination center, residents aged at least 65 in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures are eligible for the shots, while at the Osaka center, residents aged 65 and above in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures are qualified to be vaccinated.

    From May 24 onward, residents in all of Tokyo including those in the 23 special wards, as well as all Osaka Prefecture residents including those living in the city of Osaka will be eligible to make reservations. From May 31 onward, the application eligibility will be expanded to residents in entire areas of those seven prefectures.

    The Defense Ministry has outsourced the operation of the reservation system to a private company, and has reportedly boosted servers and conducted repeated inspections of the system, amid a spate of vaccination reservation troubles hitting many local bodies across the country.

    The acceptance of reservations for the Tokyo center started at around 11 a.m. on May 17, while those for the Osaka venue are slated to begin at around 1 p.m. the same day.

    Up to 10,000 people at the Tokyo center and as many as 5,000 people at the Osaka facility are estimated to be vaccinated per day. However, through the end of May, only half of those numbers of people will be inoculated at both centers in order to allow medical staff to get acquainted with their operations.

    (Japanese original by Yoshitake Matsuura, Tokyo City News Department)

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