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Coronavirus

[Corona ni Makeruna] LOOK: Vaccine Buses Are Touring To Small Towns in Japan

Instead of mobilizing the population, the COVID-19 vaccine initiative is mobilizing tour buses to help bring the vaccine to Japanese in small towns and hard to reach parts of the country.

The Sankei Shimbun

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The COVID-19 pandemic has meant fewer travelers and unused planes, trains and buses. And it is likely to stay that way until more of us can move around safety. But the transportation industry is finding ways of fighting back.

An example? Turning tour vehicles into vaccination buses. 

Vaccination of Japanese over 65 years old started on April 12, and the government is pushing hard to finish vaccinating this large group by the end of July.

Coronavirus Vaccine Bus

RELATED: Japan Vaccine Rollout Quickens Pace, Thanks to Mass Vaccinations, Family Doctors

To do so, the government mobilized the private and public sectors, small and large businesses, government offices and the Self-Defense forces. 

But, how to reach Japanese who live in small communities in the heart of the country?

Earlier we heard how travel agencies are being enlisted to help with logistics organization of the vaccine rollout, including assisting local governments with call centers and patient support.

RELATED: Corona Fatigue: Japan’s Vaccine Rollout Needs to Pick Up Now

Now, though, tour bus companies are entering the mix. 

One bus company, IBSーbased in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, has decided to use its spacious tour buses to help out.

The buses have been remodeled so that they can be used as vaccine inoculation centers. They even have space for patients to be monitored after receiving the jab. 

A remodeled coronavirus vaccine bus, set up and serving patients.

The idea is to use these buses in hard to reach and low population areas of the country.

A spokesperson for the bus company spoke to Sankei Shimbun, analyzing the situation: “May is [normally] a busy season. But this year, leisure travel is close to zero. Instead, we would like to help out with the vaccination effort, so that people can go back to traveling as they like quickly, and with peace of mind.”

(Read The Sankei Shimbun photo story in Japanese at this link.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun