Kono: No vaccinations before August at workplaces still awaiting govt approval

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Taro Kono

Companies and other entities that have not yet been granted government approval for workplace vaccinations will likely be able to start inoculations no sooner than early August, Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the vaccination rollout, has said.

“It is extremely difficult [for such applicants] to start vaccinations by the end of July,” Kono said at a press conference on Friday.

The vaccine developed by U.S. biotech firm Moderna, Inc. is being used for workplace inoculations by companies and universities. The government has received applications for programs to cover about 18 million people at 5,202 venues — greater figures than initially expected.

Even if companies and universities have filed applications, government approval is required for them to start administering shots on their own. About half of the applicants have reportedly not been granted approval.

Regarding vaccination campaigns operated by municipal governments, Kono said the government plans to deliver about 11.7 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine per two-week period starting this month. This means that an average of about 830,000 doses will be supplied per day, but the daily number of shots administered in the municipal campaigns had recently reached about 1.2 million doses. Therefore, Kono called for municipalities to make some adjustments in the daily number of vaccinations.

For the two-week period starting from July 19, municipalities are expected to be supplied only one-third of the number of doses that they have requested. Some local governments have made requests even though they have doses in stock to be administered as second shots for elderly recipients, Kono said.