After a test phase during which it worked out strategies for making sure that COVID-19 vaccinations do not go to waste due to appointment cancellations and no shows, Hiroshima City has announced the schedule of the first stages of its vaccine roll out.
The announcement comes in the midst of the “4th Wave” with record numbers of new cases of the virus being confirmed daily and as Hiroshima Prefecture as a whole starts another soft lockdown. Frustration at the Japan’s slow progress in getting vaccines out of storage and into the arms of its citizens is increasing and it will most likely come as little surprise that many Hiroshima residents have a long wait ahead of them.
Vaccination of hospital patients and residents of care facilities, 65 and older who have expressed a desire to be vaccinated, is to begin on May 10. Vaccination coupons will be sent out to people aged 80 and over (90,798 people) on this day too.
After receiving their coupons, people will have to book a time slot for their vaccinations. A list of places where people will be able to receive their vaccinations will be published on the Hiroshima City website on May 10 and on a leaflet to be included in the May 13 edition of the Chugoku Shinbun newspaper and posted in local ward offices and other public facilities.
Reservations for shots at large scale vaccination centers such as Shareo and Prince Hotel, via a call canter or online, will begin at 9am on May 15 and vaccinations will start on May 17. Vaccinations at 465 designated city hospitals and clinics are planned to begin on May 24.
It is planned that vaccination coupons will go out to 75-79 years olds (61,476 people) at the beginning of June with actual vaccinations starting in late June. The 70-74 age group (83,844 people) will follow in July and 65-69 (88,444 people) in August.
It is currently expected that all over-65s in Hiroshima City will be vaccinated by early October of this year.
The Chugoku Shinbun also reports that the schedule may be brought forward if the national government ramps up support for the vaccination program.
[UPDATE May 10, 2021]
Hiroshima City health department officials have declared the national government’s target of ramping up the so far glacial vaccine roll up to vaccinate all over 65s by the end of July as “impossible” under present conditions. Sakamoto Hiroshima City government’s director for medical and health systems said that moving the current planned schedule to be moved forward would require much enhanced support from the national government to bring more vaccination sites and personnel on line. [Source]