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Japan kicks off COVID-19 vaccination drive

Japan kicked off its COVID-19 inoculation drive on Wednesday, the last of the Group of 7 nations to begin a major vaccine drive.First in line to roll up their sleeves were Tokyo medical workers including 37-year-old nurse, Junko Hasegawa:”I was a bit nervous as I work in a place which has a higher risk of infection. By getting vaccinated, I think I can work with a little more reassurance.”But Japan faces a big hurdle – a shortage of syringes meaning millions of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines could go to waste.The government made urgent requests to manufacturers, but they’re struggling to ramp up production.It’s the latest headache for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is struggling to win public support.He’s trying to defy the odds by pushing ahead with the Tokyo Olympics, set to start this July.Though daily cases are in decline, Tokyo and several prefectures remain in a state of emergency to stop the virus from spreading.Japan has signed contracts to get a combined total of 314 million doses from Pfizer, AstraZenec and Moderna – more than enough for their population.Still, a complete vaccine rollout for millions of medical staff- and tens of millions of people aged 65 and above could take more than year, many months beyond the Olympic timeline.