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Why did Japan take so long to start vaccinations against Covid-19,even with the Olympics coming soon

Reuters, Japan

With the Olympic Games scheduled to begin in Tokyo in July, Japan had every reason to move quickly to approve the Covid-19 vaccine and start inoculation.

But the country has only started to inoculate its population of 126 million people with Pfizer-BioNTech shots last week, more than two months after the vaccine was launched in other major countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

The US has administered more than 68 million doses since its vaccination programme began in December, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In Japan, according to the Japanese government, only about 18,000 doses have been administered.

Japan's caseload is not as high as the United States or the United Kingdom, but in recent months its health system has been overwhelmed by the worst wave of infections since the pandemic started last year, with hundreds of new cases still reported every day. And Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is under pressure to reduce infections before Japan welcomes the world to the Summer Olympics.

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