SDF COVID-19 booster rollout starts in Tokyo

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man receives a booster shot at a mass vaccination center in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

The Self-Defense Forces started a mass vaccination drive for COVID-19 booster shots at Otemachi Government Building No. 3 in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday morning.

Mass COVID-19 vaccination sites set up by the Defense Ministry were closed at the end of November, but the SDF-run vaccination venue was reopened amid the rapid spread of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the venue on the day and was briefed on vaccination procedures.

The government hopes to accelerate the booster campaign at large SDF-run centers where mass vaccinations were conducted last year.

The check-in counter at the venue opened at 8 a.m., and visitors each received a shot from a nurse in a booth after having their application forms confirmed.

“We will promote safe vaccination to reduce infection rates, hospitalization rates and rates of developing serious symptoms by forwarding the booster drive,” said Lt. Col. Yujin Sekinaka of the SDF, who is in charge of the site.

The boosters will be administered to anyone 18 or older who has received a vaccination voucher and wishes to receive the shot. Doses of the Moderna vaccine will be used.

Vaccinations are available for 720 people per day until Feb. 5 and 2,160 per day after Feb. 7.

The ministry plans to open a mass vaccination center in Osaka City on Feb. 7.