Japan may have been a little slower than other big countries regarding COVID vaccinations, however, now that the vaccinations have begun rolling out in the land of the rising sun, they are rolling out in full force.
With less than 3% of the population vaccinated at the beginning of June, many were left wondering just how safe the Olympics and indeed travel to and from Japan would be for the foreseeable future. Already, less than 30 days later, numbers are up to 10%. The current goal is to have 36 million senior citizens inoculated by the end of July. According to up-to-date data, people who have received the first vaccine are at 22.9%, and those who are fully vaccinated are at 11.6% (as of July 1, 2021). Planned Olympic viewing centers have been repurposed for vaccination purposes. The current goal for a nationally vaccinated Japan is the end of November.
At present, in order to get a vaccine, residents have a few options. One is to wait for vaccination coupons, distributed by the local government, to arrive by postal mail. For the more rural—or impatient—it may be faster to contact your ward or city office and pick up a voucher directly. The vouchers are being sent to older residents first, targeting those from their 40s to 60s.
Once residents have their coupon, they can make a reservation with one of the affiliated clinics or vaccination centers in order to get the long-coveted jabs. There is an extensive list of centers across Japan, provided by the health ministry (Japanese only). Another website, Find a Doc, provides English-language information for required documents and available vaccination openings. The three approved vaccines in Japan are Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
As many countries discuss implementing vaccine passports in the post-Covid world, travel could resume sooner than you think.