Japan disposes of over 7,000 mishandled doses of COVID-19 vaccine -Yomiuri

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FILE PHOTO: The word "COVID-19" is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration

TOKYO (Reuters) - Over 7,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been disposed of in Japan due to mishandling, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Sunday, as Japan races to inoculate its people amid a fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

A hospital and a mass vaccination each had to dispose of some 1,000 doses of the Pfizer Inc vaccine because they expired at room temperature, while 12 doses went to waste at a ward in Tokyo because of over-dilution, a survey by the daily found.

Omuta National Hospital in the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka apologised in a statement, saying, "We hugely regret having to dispose of the precious vaccine due to our mismanagement, when many local residents are eager to get vaccinated."

Less than 50 days before the scheduled start of the Tokyo Olympics, Japan has vaccinated about 9% of its people with at least one dose, a slow rollout among advanced economies.

The nation's capital, Tokyo, set to host the once-delayed Games from July 23, is under a COVID-19 state of emergency along with eight other regions, while the government struggles to bring the fourth wave under control.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by William Mallard)

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