Vaccine reservations prove to be more popular commodity in Osaka than in Tokyo
As the country ramps up its vaccination campaign, reservations for COVID-19 vaccinations at a large site run by the Self-Defense Forces in Osaka fill up much faster than for the Tokyo facility.
A senior Defense Ministry official was unsure of the reason for the disparity, but some point to the severe wave of the virus that hit Osaka this spring as a potential cause.
The number of people eligible to book vaccinations on the sites is being increased in stages. On May 17, reservations began for 24,500 doses at the Osaka site, for older residents of Osaka city, and for 49,000 shots at the Tokyo site for seniors in the 23 wards of the city. the capital.
Osaka slots were full within 30 minutes of starting reservations. In contrast, the Tokyo slots, where the number of doses available was twice as many as the Osaka site, were not filled until May 18, or a day and a half after the start of the window. booking.
Last Monday, reservations began for seniors in the rest of Osaka Prefecture and those in all parts of Tokyo. Osaka’s 35,000 seats filled up in about 30 minutes after winning, but about 18,000 of the Tokyo site’s 70,000 seats were still available at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The Defense Ministry therefore extended earlier than expected those eligible for shooting at the Tokyo site to residents of neighboring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa on Friday. People living in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa who are not registered as residents of the four prefectures can also book photos. When coverage was extended to the three neighboring prefectures, the remaining slots were only filled in about 50 minutes.
Regarding the relatively slow pace of bookings at the Tokyo site, a senior ministry official said, “This may be because Tokyo city governments are steadily making progress in preparing their own immunization programs.
The official said that places at the Osaka site may have filled up quickly because Osaka residents were impatient, but another government official said Tokyoites were of a similar temperament.
Meanwhile, Osaka-born Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama had a different take on the situation during a press conference on Thursday.
“The people of Osaka are under great pressure” because of the coronavirus crisis, he said.
The daily number of new infections in Osaka Prefecture has often exceeded figures reported in Tokyo from the end of March, although new cases in Kansai are now on the decline.
The cumulative death toll from the virus stood at 2,260 in Osaka on Friday, more than 2,048 in Tokyo despite a population smaller than the capital.
The ministry plans to continue offering 35,000 vaccination slots at the Osaka site and 70,000 at the Tokyo site each week.
“If the situation in which Tokyo places are not fully booked continues, revisiting the balance between the two sites may become an option,” a senior ministry official said, suggesting that places in Tokyo could be reduced for increase those in Osaka.
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