Eight inoculation centers begin administering shots as first vaccine shipment arrives in the country.

Good news regarding the coronavirus pandemic has been in short supply. Japan is currently in the middle of its second government-declared state of emergency due to a spike in the number of infections, and the past 12 months have seen a steady flow of business failures, event postponements, and border closures.

On Wednesday, though there was finally something to cheer about. Following the arrival of the first shipment from U.S. pharmaceutical maker Pfizer, Japan finally carried out its first day of coronavirus vaccinations.

“Inoculations using the coronavirus vaccine have finally begun,” announced the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office’s vaccine information Twitter account, along with photos from one of the administration sites. “We will be working towards the smooth vaccination of the nation’s people.”

▼ A vaccination being administered. Just a quick injection, but the result of an unprecedented amount of effort on the part of the medical community.

As in many countries, the vaccine is being given on a priority basis, with medical workers in the first group, followed by elderly residents and people with preexisting health conditions that put them at high risk of infection or increased chance of severe consequences should they become infected. Other demographics will need to remain patient, especially since a shortage of specialized syringes means that inoculation centers in Japan will be unable to extract the full number of vaccine doses from each vial (though on the plus side, the government has said the vaccine will be free for all people in Japan).

▼ The first vaccine shipment arriving

Eight inoculation centers administered 125 injections on day one. While only a minuscule portion of the country’s total population, that’s infinitely more people than who were vaccinated the day before, and while there’s still a long way to go on the road back to normal life, taking the first step is definitely something to celebrate.

Source: Twitter/@kantei_vaccine
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