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100s show up to Tokyo no-appointment COVID vax site hours before opening, many refused

A sign posted in front of the vaccination center in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward says the site has already stopped accepting people for the day on Aug. 27, 2021. (Mainichi/Ririko Maeda)

TOKYO -- Hundreds of people streamed to a no-appointment COVID-19 vaccination site in the Japanese capital early on Aug. 27, with many being turned away as the crowd far outstripped the doses available.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government set up the inoculation center for people aged 16 to 39 at Shibuya City Labor & Welfare Hall near JR Shibuya Station. Though authorities had planned to start giving shots at noon, they distributed 300 numbered tickets at around 8 a.m. and stopped accepting more people due to the extremely long queue.

    People can get jabs without appointments at the venue if they bring a vaccine coupon and ID. According to the metropolitan government, there were already more than 10 people in line as of 4 a.m. on the day, and more than 300 by 7:30 a.m. The government had expected about 200 people a day. Some of the people who could not get one of the 300 tickets apparently protested to the venue staff.

    The metropolitan government had been urging people on its website to refrain from coming early to avoid heatstroke and other reasons. However, they had to come early to get one of the cherished tickets.

    "We are very sorry. We will consider improvement measures," a metro Tokyo representative said.

    (Japanese original by Toshiki Koseki, Tokyo City News Department)

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