Stars and Stripes stripes.com 19 Dec, 2020 17:00 am

Japan confronts a history of vaccine mistrust

Japan confronts a history of vaccine mistrust
Japanese long-distance runner Hitomi Niiya doesn't want to take a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. She's worried about side effects and has faith in the precautions already underway. The 32-year-old elite athlete isn't alone.

19, 2020, Niiya doesn't want to take a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.TOKYO — Japanese long-distance runner Hitomi Niiya doesn't want to take a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.A study in October by the international research group Ipsos found that 69% of Japanese people "agree" or "somewhat agree" that they would take a vaccine against the coronavirus when available.Japan's parliament amended the vaccination law earlier this month to make the coronavirus vaccine free to residents.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee will strongly encourage athletes to get a coronavirus vaccine before competing in the Games.A global study published in September in the British medical journal the Lancet showed that Japanese people were among the least confident in vaccine safety in the world, alongside France and Mongolia, with fewer than 10% of respondents strongly agreeing with the idea that vaccines are safe.

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