TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters) - Major Japanese companies are set to open COVID-19 vaccination centres this month, as the country races to speed up inoculations before the start of the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Japan kicked off its inoculation push in mid-February, later than most major economies. The campaign was slowed initially by scant supplies of imported doses, but even as shipments increased the rollout was hampered by manpower shortages and malfunctions in reservation systems.
Just 8.7% of Japan’s population have gotten at least one shot, according to a Reuters tracker, the lowest rate among larger, wealthy economies.
To make up for lost time, the government has handed over more control to municipalities and companies to set up their own systems and centres for administering shots.
Workplace vaccinations will start from June 21, using the shot developed by Moderna Inc. Japanese companies that have announced detailed vaccination plans:
* Suntory Holdings Ltd
The beer and whisky maker will start giving out shots from June 21, targeting 19,000 employees and their family members. Vaccination of employees will be treated as working hours, and paid leave will be granted in case of adverse reactions.
*Daiwa Securities Group Inc.
The brokerage will give out shots from June 21 to the end of September, starting with 14,000 employees and family members in Tokyo, and the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama. The group’s in-house physicians and nurses, as well as doctors and nurses from affiliated companies, will manage the programme.
*Iris Ohyama Inc
The private plastics company will start on June 21 at major locations nationwide for workers and family. Inoculation for local residents is also being considered.
The electronics maker will begin on June 21 in Tokyo, Osaka and in the prefectures of Fukuoka and Shiga. The company will start with employees and subcontractors, and will consider expanding to families and local residents.
*ANA Holdings Inc
The airline is planning to start vaccination for pilots and flight attendants engaged in international flights from June 21.
*Toyota Motor Corp
The carmaker will offer up its sports centres and other facilities as vaccination sites staffed by company physicians and nurses.
*SoftBank Group Corp
A SoftBank subsidiary has set up a vaccination site for medical professionals at the shared office site WeWork Nogizaka in Tokyo, and is considering launching vaccinations for the general public.
*Rakuten Group Inc
A subsidiary of the online retailer has set up a large-scale vaccination site at Noevir Stadium Kobe, home of the Vissel Kobe soccer team, in cooperation with the city government and other organizations.
*GMO Internet Inc
Planning to inoculating employees at its headquarters and regional offices, and considering expansion to business partners and local residents.
Companies that are still in the planning stage:
Nomura Holdings Inc
Nissan Motor Co
Sony Group Corp
Mizuho Financial Group
Honda Motor Co (Reporting by Shinji Kitamura, Yuki Nitta, Maki Shiraki, Ritsuko Shimizu, and Rocky Swift in Tokyo; Editing by Kim Coghill)