Municipalities asked to prepare for 3rd shots

Japan's Minister in charge of Vaccinations Horiuchi Noriko has asked municipalities to prepare for a smooth rollout of third COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The government plans to provide booster shots from next month, bracing for a possible sixth wave of infections. It aims to inoculate healthcare workers first, as in previous vaccination rounds.

Horiuchi told reporters on Friday that inoculations for elderly people are expected to be in full swing as early as February, with 600,000 doses given per day.

She added that in March, when the vaccine program targets younger people, more than 900,000 doses could be administered per day.

Horiuchi also said the government will soon give details about the schedule of vaccine distribution to municipalities from February.

She indicated that the government will call on companies and universities that offered their venues for previous inoculations to be involved in the upcoming program as well.