A COVID-19 inoculation site for supposedly vaccine-hesitant youth in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward got off to a rocky start Friday after the capital dramatically underestimated the size of the crowd that would turn up.
Registration was supposed to begin at 11:50 a.m., but a line had amassed by sunrise and every slot was filled by 7:30 a.m. According to officials, around 15 people were already waiting in line by the time staff arrived at the facility at 4 a.m. Some had been waiting overnight.
Dozens began to arrive at around 10 a.m. on Friday thinking they had given themselves ample time to claim a spot in line, only to find that registration had ended hours earlier and that they would have to return another day.
The confusion and disarray meant many left frustrated, empty handed and unvaccinated.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said that, beginning Saturday, the site will use a lottery system. Those who arrive between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. will be given a ticket on a first-come, first-served basis, then notified via the Line messaging app by 11:30 a.m. when they can get their shot.
With two booths initially said to be capable of vaccinating 200 people every day until Oct. 8., the site — located inside the Shibuya City Labor and Welfare Hall — is the smallest of all vaccine facilities operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The site was meant to offer people between the ages of 16 and 39 a way to get vaccinated without a reservation — especially those who haven’t been able to book an appointment at a local clinic or inoculation venue.