Japan is on track to achieve herd immunity this year — but the feat likely won’t come in time for the planned summer Olympic Games, a researcher said.
Rasmus Bech Hansen, the founder of British research firm Airfinity, predicted that the country will reach a 75 percent inoculation rate — which is considered a benchmark for herd immunity — around October, two months after the scheduled end of the Summer Games in Tokyo.
“Japan looks to be quite late in the game,” Hansen said of the nation’s mass vaccination plans.
“They’re dependent on importing many (vaccines) from the U.S. And at the moment, it doesn’t seem very likely they will get very large quantities of for instance, the Pfizer vaccine,” he added.
Japan has agreed to buy 314 million doses from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — more than enough to inoculate its 126 million residents.
But there could be delays in the process of procuring the vaccines.
“There simply aren’t enough vaccines for all the countries that Pfizer made agreements with,” Hansen claimed.
“America needs 100 million more Pfizer vaccines to be on the safe side to reach their goals, and a lot of those 100 million would come from the Japan pile.”
Pfizer said in a statement that it’s “working closely with all governments on allocation of doses.”
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga previously pledged to have enough vaccines for the country’s population by the middle of 2021.
After being delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Tokyo games are still scheduled to go ahead in late July and into August.
With Post wires
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