Japan engages companies to boost vaccination drive

Vaccination in the country is getting a shot in the arm as thousands of companies start inoculating their employees.
By: | June 23, 2021

In the employer-led vaccination drive, thousands of Japanese companies have begun inoculating their workers from June 21.

The government has allowed companies to administer shots to their employees at work premises. It has so far received 3,479 applications for the programme, with enough doses to inoculate 13.7 million people. 

Companies must submit their plans to vaccinate at least 1,000 people per site and they get to decide whom to include, such as families, affiliate companies and suppliers. 

Big companies taking part in the drive include Toyota Motor Corp, which plans to vaccinate 80,000 employees working at its plants and offices. SoftBank Group aims to do the same for over 250,000 workers, family members and people living close to its offices across 15 locations in Japan with a total capacity of 10,000 shots a day. Online retailer Rakuten said it is vaccinating 60,000 workers and their families.

Beverage maker Suntory plans to inoculate 51,500 people, including part-time workers and employees’ families. Fast Retailing, behind the Uniqlo clothing chain, will vaccinate 18,500 employees, including part-timers and cleaning and cafeteria staff, from July 1. 

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Smaller firms can also apply to take part in the programme through organisations such as local merchant associations, so ideally no one will fall through the cracks, said Japan’s health ministry. Universities can also opt in for the programme.