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A Bitter Vaccine History Means Hurdles for Japan’s Covid Fight

  • More than 30% of public say they don’t want a Covid vaccine
  • Government needs to balance swift approval, public suspicion
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Covid Tracker: More Than 2 Million People Vaccinated
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With agreements to secure more coronavirus vaccines than it needs and legislation to distribute it for free, Japan may seem to have its inoculation plans in place. Yet a tense public history with vaccines and a cautious approval process has some concerned over how quickly the country can return to normal.

Japan has one of the lowest rates of vaccine confidence in the world, according to a Lancet study, which found that fewer than 30% of people strongly agreed that vaccines were safe, important and effective, compared with at least 50% of Americans. A recent poll by Japanese public broadcaster NHK found 36% said they didn’t want to take a Covid-19 vaccine.