Japan finally begins mass vaccinations for seniors

Japan began COVID-19 vaccinations for its 36 million elderly people on Monday (April 12) but imported doses are still in short supply and the pace for inoculation is unlikely to stop a fourth wave of infection.

Japan is one of the last major economies to begin vaccinations.

The country is dependent on Pfizer vaccines as it is the only COVID-19 shot approved by domestic regulators.

Pfizer vaccines made in Europe were delivered to some 120 sites across the country in the past week for people aged 65 and above.

Just 2,810 people in Tokyo are expected to get a shot from the first batch, while most regions will receive 1,000 or fewer, according to a health ministry schedule.

About 1.1 million people in Japan, mostly frontline healthcare workers, have received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine so far.

In a recent poll by local news media, about 60% of people were dissatisfied with Japan's progress on vaccinations.

Japan has reported over 9,400 deaths by Monday, according to a Reuters tally, low compared to most other major economies.

But concerns of the new wave of infections are rising, particularly with the delayed Olympic Games coming up fast.