Japan plans to accelerate vaccination drive

The Japanese government plans to accelerate its coronavirus vaccination drive by gradually shifting its focus from the elderly to other groups.

The government is considering offering vaccinations at workplaces and university campuses as early as the middle of June.

A state of emergency covering Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi and six other prefectures has been extended from the originally scheduled end on Monday. It will now be in force until June 20, which was the end date for Okinawa Prefecture, as it was added later.

And intensive preventative measures have been extended until the same date in Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and other prefectures.
The government is increasingly alarmed by a spike in foot traffic in Tokyo and Osaka. It wants to contain the virus as soon as possible, as the Olympic Games are scheduled to open in the capital next month.

More elderly people became eligible Monday for vaccinations at large state-run inoculation venues in Tokyo and Osaka. The sites can handle a combined 15,000 people a day.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide met industry minister Kajiyama Hiroshi and education minister Hagiuda Koichi to discuss ways to expand the vaccination campaign beyond the elderly.

The government wants businesses to secure the personnel and space to administer vaccines to their employees. It hopes that the corporate vaccination drive will also cover workers' family members and make use of the Moderna vaccine.