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Over 50% of Tokyo residents fully vaccinated; authorities eye broader age range

A man receives a coronavirus vaccine shot at a Self-Defense Forces vaccination center in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on June 17, 2021. (Mainichi/Yohei Koide)

TOKYO -- Over 50% of Tokyo residents, not including medical professionals, have had their two COVID-19 vaccine shots, the metropolitan government reported on Sept. 24 during a monitoring meeting on coronavirus infections in the capital.

    Tokyo plans to further promote vaccinations by expanding the range of residents eligible to get shots at mass inoculation sites, among other measures.

    As of Sept. 21, 51.5% of Tokyoites had been fully vaccinated. According to the metropolitan government, among those aged 65 and older -- an age group which had been given priority in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout due to comparatively higher risks of developing severe symptoms -- 87.0% have gotten their second shots.

    Compared to the number of deaths seen during the third wave of infections last winter, the death toll during the recent fifth wave in the summer has been lower. The metropolitan government believes that vaccines were one of the reasons for this.

    Tokyo also reported during the meeting that examinations of 484 people who died between Aug. 1 and Sept. 20 in the capital after contracting the coronavirus showed that, of 412 whose vaccination history could be traced, 325, or 78.9%, had not been inoculated. Forty-nine people, or 11.9%, died after being fully vaccinated, and of those, 45 had underlying conditions such as cancer or diabetes. Thirty-eight people, or 9.2%, died with one dose completed.

    Mitsuo Kaku, head of an expert board at the Tokyo Center for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention, told the meeting, "We believe that vaccinating people will bring down (COVID-19) deaths. We'll continue to study the impact of vaccines and other factors."

    Meanwhile, the metropolitan government has lowered the minimum age eligible for shots at three mass vaccination sites -- the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building's north and south observatories in Shinjuku Ward, and the north Tachikawa center in the suburban city of Tachikawa -- from third-year junior high school age (14-15) and older to 12 and above. Tokyo started accepting reservations for these locations, where Moderna vaccines will be administered, on Sept. 24.

    Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told a regular news conference the same day, "If members of your family haven't been vaccinated, we want you to tell them that there are slots available" at the mass vaccination sites.

    (Japanese original by Hitomi Saikawa, Tokyo City News Department)

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