Japan to lower minimum age to 16 at state-run vaccination sites
Written by tokyoclub on September 24, 2021
Japan’s state-run mass COVID-19 inoculation centers are looking into giving shots to people aged 16 or over, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Friday, lowering the minimum age from 18 amid the spread of the virus among younger people.
The move by the centers in Tokyo and Osaka, which are run by the Self-Defense Forces, comes as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus leads to more infections among children.
People head to a mass COVID-19 vaccination center in Osaka, western Japan, on Sept. 11, 2021. (Kyodo)
The ministry is expected to make a decision Friday afternoon on lowering the minimum age, a government source said.
The vaccination sites use U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc.’s two-dose vaccine, which has been approved for people aged 12 and older.
Those aged 16 and older in Japan do not need parental permission or to be accompanied by parents or guardians to receive the shots.
The centers were previously scheduled to end operation at the end of September, but the government decided earlier this month to continue giving shots at the sites through late November amid a surge of COVID-19 cases among younger generations.
They will resume offering the first dose of the vaccine between Sunday and late October.
More than 50 percent of Japan’s population of 125 million has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to government data. The government plans to finish vaccinating all eligible people who wish to receive shots by November.