FOCUS: Kishida Alarmed by Slow COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Rollout

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 28 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is becoming increasingly alarmed by the slow pace of his government's rollout of booster vaccine shots against the novel coronavirus.

Kishida fears that the public may turn on his administration if the slowness of the rollout is linked to the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, while opposition parties are seeking to capitalize on what they see as lukewarm responses by the government as they slam Kishida's leadership ability.

"Why did vaccinations increase only by 10,000 shots from yesterday," Kishida complained after being briefed on progress in booster shots earlier this month. Japan had given the third vaccine shot to some 3.16 million people as of Thursday, a mere 21 pct of the government's target of 14.7 million booster shots by the end of the month.

One of the reasons behind the slow pace in booster vaccinations has been worries among the general public about mix-and-match vaccinations, or receiving a booster dose of the vaccine made by a drugmaker different from the manufacturers of the vaccines used in their past inoculations.

For booster shots, the Japanese government has been promoting the vaccine of Moderna Inc. in addition to that of Pfizer Inc., with Kishida himself declaring that he will get a shot of the Moderna vaccine for the booster after he received doses of the Pfizer vaccine for his first and second shots.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press