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COVID vaccines

COVID-19 vaccination for those under 65 may start in July: minister

Medical workers rest after they received doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Cancer and Infectious Diseases Center Komagome Hospital in Tokyo, Japan March 5, 2021. Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via REUTERS   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Japan for people under 65 may begin in July depending on the availability of supplies, the health minister said Sunday.

If the government can secure more COVID-19 vaccines than it needs to finish inoculating the elderly by the end of July as planned, vaccination of younger people could start the same month, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura said in a Fuji Television program.

Regarding the state of emergency that took effect in Tokyo and western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, Tamura said in a different program on public broadcaster NHK that it could be lifted before the scheduled end date of May 11 if business restrictions and other measures prove effective in bringing down the number of infections.

Asked about the possibility of expanding the state of emergency to other areas, he said the government will consult experts if needed, but stopped short of elaborating.

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