Japan has surpassed 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered on a single day, meeting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s target as the inoculation drive accelerates ahead of the political pressure points of the Tokyo Olympics and a general election.
The milestone was achieved on June 14, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using figures released from the prime minister’s office on Wednesday. There’s a considerable lag in the reporting of vaccination data by local authorities, so much so that vaccine minister Taro Kono has been reported to suggest the government might skip shipments of shots to municipalities that are slow to report.
The figure from June 14, a Monday, may include some medical workers who were vaccinated on Saturday or Sunday.
Suga had said he hoped to achieve the goal in mid- to late June, and finish inoculating everyone who’s willing to be inoculated by October or November. His administration’s handling of the virus, the vaccine rollout and the looming Olympics is in the spotlight as he plans for both a parliamentary election and a party leadership race in the fall.
Japan’s vaccination rollout began with medical workers and people 65 and older, and was initially criticized for its slowness compared to other developed countries. Vaccination of the elderly has rapidly sped up in recent weeks, and the inoculation of those under 65 got a boost on Monday with some of Japan’s largest and most well-known companies beginning to vaccinate their own employees on office premises. Vaccine czar Kono said this week he estimates the workplace program could reach about 200,000 people per day.