Eligibility expanded for Osaka vaccination venue

Elderly people formed long lines at a large-scale coronavirus vaccination site in Osaka on Monday morning after eligibility was expanded to residents of two neighboring prefectures.

The central government opened two large-scale venues in Osaka and Tokyo on May 24 to speed up inoculations of people aged 65 or older.

The venue in Osaka Prefecture began accepting residents from Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures in its third week of operation.

People waited in long lines even before the doors opened at 8 a.m.

A 68-year-old woman who came with her husband from Ashiya City in Hyogo Prefecture said they got up at 6 a.m. and traveled by rail and bus to the site.

She said it was a long way, but they chose the site because their city currently only accepts reservations for people aged 80 or older.

A 69-year-old man from Takarazuka, also in Hyogo, said he got up at 5:30 a.m. He said he has no family doctor to administer jabs, so he chose Osaka, where he works.

The man said he wants to get his two shots quickly so he can get back to his pre-pandemic life.

The Osaka venue can vaccinate up to 5,000 people a day. Online reservations for the June 14 to 27 period will start at 1 p.m. on Monday.

The Defense Ministry, which operates the site, says reservations are almost full from June 28 onwards, due to people receiving their second shots.