Japan Begins Workplace Vaccination Program

General

Thousands of Japanese companies began the rollout of their workplace vaccine programs Monday, inoculating company workers and their families.

Some of the companies had been critical of what they said was the government’s slow pace of Japan’s COVID-19 inoculation campaign.

Toyota and Suntory are among the companies participating in the workplace program with vaccines provided by the government.

Thousands of people are expected to receive shots through the initiative, which is beginning just weeks before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

Organizers of the Olympics announced Monday that they will allow a limited number of spectators into venues holding Olympic events, capping the number at 10,000 people, or 50% of a venue’s capacity. The decision comes just days after health experts told the government that banning all spectators was the “least risky” option for holding the games in light of a surge of new COVID-19 infections in the Japanese capital and across the country.

Record in India

In India, the government announced it had given 7.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses Monday — a new single day record for inoculations. The country also saw its lowest daily number of new COVID-19 cases in about three months — 53,256 new infections.

India is trying to inoculate 950 million adults by December under a vaccination plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month. Under the plan, the government is buying 75% of the vaccines made for use in India and giving them to the states free of charge.

The World Health Organization said Monday that it is working to set up a new technology hub for coronavirus vaccines in South Africa in an effort to boost supply to the continent.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said during a virtual WHO press briefing in Geneva that it is essential for the African continent to be able to produce its own vaccines.

“You can’t rely on vaccines that are made outside Africa because they never come. They never arrive on time and people keep dying,” he said.

Sharing vaccines

In the United States, the White House laid out its plans for sharing 55 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad, with the majority of the allocations going to Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.

The Biden administration said Monday that most of the doses would be shared through the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, fulfilling a commitment by President Joe Biden to share 80 million U.S.-made vaccines with countries around the world.

U.S. officials say the deliveries have been delayed due to legal, logistical and regulatory requirements in both the United States and the recipient countries.

“What we’ve found to be the biggest challenge is not actually the supply — we have plenty of doses to share with the world — but this is a Herculean logistical challenge,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Global numbers

Taiwan recorded its lowest number of new COVID-19 infections since May 15. Health officials announced 75 new infections Monday. On Sunday, Taiwan received 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccines from the United States.

Indonesian health officials said Monday the country has passed 2 million confirmed coronavirus infections. They also announced the country’s largest one-day jump in new coronavirus infections — 14,536.

Authorities say they are tightening restrictions to try to stop the spread of the virus for two weeks in 29 “red zones” across the country where infection rates are high.

There are more than 178 million global COVID-19 infections as of Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S. has the most with 33.6 million, followed by India with 29.9, and Brazil with 17.9.

Brazil became the second country, behind the United States, to record more than half a million COVID-19 deaths.

Source: Voice of America