Today is Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Here’s what you need to know:

Good morning, 

COVID-19 vaccinations are taking place all around the world, and Japan, host of the 2021 Summer Olympics, has launched a vaccine program to prepare for the incoming activity.

The move comes after Japan fell behind in vaccinations, prompting criticism from leaders and citizens alike. The program includes 100 medical facilities and a first group consisting of 40,000 healthcare workers, half of which will be part of a study monitoring the potential side effects. Due to the contents of the vaccines, ordinary freezers are not able to house the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines. Japan has moved the proper storage requirements into place and the program will begin next week.

Infection rates in Japan are much lower than in the United States, totaling at around one per every 100,000 people. The United States is currently 24.5 for every 100,000. 

An additional 3.7 million healthcare workers is scheduled to commence in March, furthering the fight against the global pandemic. Healthcare workers will be the first to receive the vaccines followed by 36 million elderly or people with preexisting conditions. The last group to get the vaccine will be the general public.

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@JackHiltner 

jh396418@ohio.edu