US military continues Moderna shot campaign in Japan as new emergency measures take effect
By JOSEPH DITZLER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 26, 2021
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TOKYO — The U.S. military reported four new cases of coronavirus in Japan as of 6 p.m. Monday.
All four tested positive between Saturday and Monday at Marine Corps bases on Okinawa — two at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and one each at Camps Hansen and Foster — according to a Facebook post Monday by Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
Camp Hansen had 45 of the 77 COVID-19 patients reported by U.S. Forces Japan on Thursday. MCAS Futenma had the next highest number, six.
Meanwhile, Japan’s largest metropolitan areas wrestled with a continuing rise in new patients afflicted with COVID-19, the coronavirus respiratory disease. On Monday, the nation surpassed 10,000 deaths attributable to the coronavirus, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Tokyo reported 425 people had tested positive Monday for the virus, an increase of 20 over the previous Monday, part of an ongoing trend of a steady week-to-week escalation in new case numbers, according to NHK and metro government data.
Osaka prefecture, experiencing its worst phase of the pandemic, reported 1,097 new infections Saturday and 1,050 on Sunday, according to its coronavirus tracking website. On Monday, the prefecture reported another 924 people had contracted the virus and 15 others had died, according to NHK.
Tokyo, the capital and largest city in Japan, and Osaka prefecture, home to the country’s second-largest metro area, along with its neighboring prefectures Kyoto and Hyogo, are under a state of emergency until May 11. Restaurants serving alcohol, shopping malls, movie theaters and theme parks are closed; businesses are expected to encourage their employees to telework; mass transit such as buses and trains are reducing their schedules, according to Kyodo News and other Japanese media.
U.S. bases in Japan are continuing to schedule clinics with the two-shot Moderna vaccine pending a decision on resuming vaccinations with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Yokosuka Naval Base has scheduled a shot clinic from 1-3 p.m. Friday for anyone over 18 and eligible for either their first or second shot of the vaccine. Anyone interested in getting vaccinated should schedule an appointment at https://bit.ly/3gFcI6u.
Yokosuka is vaccinating anyone who is eligible within the Defense Department, including service members, retirees, civilian employees, dependents who qualify under TRICARE and designated contractors approved for vaccination by the DOD, according to a base Facebook post Monday.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi will also vaccinate any eligible DOD beneficiary age 18 and older and has clinics scheduled Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. More information is available on the NAF Atsugi Facebook page.
Misawa Air Base will hold clinics Tuesday for first shots for any eligible Defense Department personnel age 18 and older, according to a base Facebook post Monday. That line is scheduled 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tomodachi Room of the officer’s club.
Anyone who received a first shot on or before April 3 and is due a second shot at Misawa should go to the immunization clinic 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday or 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the post.
The air base planned to distribute 1,900 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 16, until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration urged a pause on that vaccine. Six out of more than 6 million people who received the shot had developed extremely rare but severe blood clots.
The CDC and FDA on Friday recommended lifting that pause and resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to an FDA news release.
Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo on Monday said it has only enough Moderna vaccine available for second doses and is awaiting word from DOD on what its policy will be on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“The DoD is currently evaluating how to proceed following the FDA and CDC recommendation and Yokota AB will follow their guidance on distribution,” said a base Facebook post on Monday.