Japan has embarked on mass vaccination programme in Tokyo and Osaka, as Covid crisis worsens.
The military has set up centres which offer thousands of shots each day, and prioritise elderly people.
The country’s vaccination drive started late and was hampered by supply shortages and organizational hurdles.
The country is currently lagging behind other developed nations as only about 1.9% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Japan’s efficient healthcare system has been increasingly overwhelmed by the latest surge, with some hospitals running out of beds and ventilators.
Major parts of Japan are currently under a state of emergency which gives regional authorities more power to enforce measures against the pandemic.
The country has recorded more than 700,000 infections and 12,000 deaths from the virus.
With the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to start in July, there is pressure to call off the Games.
The mass vaccination drive is run by Japan’s defence forces and is scheduled to stretch over the next three months.
Authorities hope that by the end of July, people at the age of 65 and above would have completed their vaccinations.
The country started vaccinating its people in February.
Earlier vaccination drives, which were conducted by municipal authorities across the country, had prioritised healthcare and other frontline workers.
But progress was slow due to supply shortages and logistical hurdles, such as getting enough local doctors to help out.
So far, only around 4.7% of the country’s elderlies of age 65 or older have received at least one dose of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca.