Today the situation in Japan is very different from 4 months ago: from a peak of 25,000 infections per day to the few dozen today. The country seems to have emerged from the long pandemic crisis and almost everything has returned to normal. What happened?
Just over 4 months ago, before the Olympics, Japan counted 25,000 new infections a day of Covid-19, with a very low vaccination rate: the campaign had started late, and many hesitated. Today, as economies and public opinion around the world are paralyzed by the Omicron variant and a tremendous fourth wave lashes Europe,
Japan has been making headlines for at least two weeks as a school case: the cases are at an all-time low, fifty a day two weeks ago, an average of one hundred a day in this one, the vaccinated are 79% of the population (1% more than in Italy), the country seems to breathe a sigh of relief so much that many aspects of public life are resumed regularly. What happen?
The Ivermectin False News
The social media version is based on fake news. The news circulates on Facebook and Twitter, especially in Asia, Australia, and Eastern Europe that Tokyo has suspended vaccinations, focusing instead on treatments, and especially ivermectin. a hoax. Not only is there no evidence that ivermectin effectively cures Covid-19. But the Japanese vaccination campaign, if anything, has gotten into full swing just recently: after a slow start, which cast doubts on the possibility that the Olympics could take place safely, about 80% of Japanese people are now vaccinated.
Japan and no-vax: a land of skeptics
The vaccination campaign that began in February has struggled to get going for two fundamental reasons. The first is the clinical trials required by law in the country, which are longer and more cumbersome than elsewhere; slowness was added to slowness in administration, and the Japanese were convinced, for the most part, that they had to wait a very long time before being able to get vaccinated. Just before the Olympics, only 4% did. Recent cases of imprudent medical communication – first about vaccines for exanthematous diseases, in the 1990s, then recently with papillomavirus – have provided the Japanese with a second reason for delay. In February, when the campaign started, fewer than 30% of Japanese people trusted to get vaccinated; the Kyodo news agency promoted a survey and the result was that 27.4% of the citizens surveyed did not intend to be vaccinated.
What convinced the Japanese to get vaccinated
Today things are different. 79% of the population vaccinated. One of the many analyzes of the Japan case that are seen online these days, in the British newspaper The Guardian, puts emphasis on various aspects. Mainly, the rush of politicians and administrators, compact, to get vaccinated. Then the queues in the younger neighborhoods of the capital, such as Shibuya. Above all, the Olympics. A similar influx of people – therefore of infections – from the rest of the world would have frightened the Japanese, who rushed to book the vaccine. At the height of the efficacy of so many vaccines administered almost at the same time and so recently, it is clear that the Japanese population is now in a phase of relative invulnerability. How much these three factors weigh, and even if they really are enough to explain Japan’s temporary truce, epidemiology and public health experts cannot say precisely. It is not even known if the change can be said to be lasting, or if a new wave is upon us. For now Tokyo is breathtaking.
November 27, 2021 (change November 27, 2021 | 17:34)
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