COVID-19 vaccinations are being given in Japan and, at the same time, there are many questions and concerns in mind. Smiles understands that it can be a confusing process, so we assembled a list of common questions pertaining to the coronavirus vaccines in Japan as well as updates.
Q&A’s about Registration, Vaccination Sites, Resources & More
Table of Contents
1. How do I register for COVID-19 vaccine in Japan?
Step 1: Get a COVID-19 Vaccination Notice
You will receive a COVID-19 vaccine ticket along with a COVID-19 vaccination notice and form from the local government.
Step 2: Find COVID-19 vaccination sites
Find a vaccination site near you by visiting Japan’s Ministry of Health website here.
Step 3: Make a reservation
Reserve a vaccination spot online through the Ministry of Health website or by calling a vaccination site near you.
2. What is the vaccinating order?
- Medical staff
- Seniors (65 years or older or those who are born on or before April 1, 1954)
- People with underlying medical conditions, people working in nursing homes, people between the ages of 60 and 64.
- Everyone else
Below is a flow chart of the vaccinating order. Click here to see it in PDF form.
3. Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
4. Is the COVID-19 vaccine free?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is completely free. It is covered by the government.
5. How many injections will I have?
You will need two:
- For the Pfizer vaccine: the first and second doses will be given three weeks apart
- For Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines: the first and second doses will be spaced 28 days apart
6. Can I choose the type of COVID-19 vaccine I will get?
The Japanese Department of Health says that people will receive the COVID-19 vaccine that’s available at the vaccination site. The second dose will need to be the same as the first dose of the vaccine.
To see which vaccine is available at each vaccination site near you, click here.
7. What are the basic conditions that allow you to be given priority to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Chronic heart disease, including high blood pressure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Diabetics treated with insulin and other medications, or diabetics with other medical conditions
- Blood disease (but not anemia)
- The disease can cause a lower immune system, including the ongoing treatment of melanoma
- People who are being treated with steroids and other forms of treatment that weaken the immune system
- Neurological and neuromuscular diseases associated with immune abnormalities thường
- Impaired physical function due to neurological disorder or neuromuscular disease
- Chromosome disorder
- Severe physical and mental disorder
- Sleep apnea syndrome
- People who are hospitalized/treated for severe mental illness or have been recognized by local authorities as having a long-term mental illness
- People with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or more. BMI = Body weight (kg) height (m) height (m)
8. Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Anyone over 16 years old can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Cities will send COVID-19 vaccine tickets based on residency registration information. If you are not registered (foreigners new to Japan may fall into this category) or would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a city other than your registered address, please contact your city hall help desk.
9. Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- People with a fever
- People who are suffering from an acute illness
- People with a history of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis
- People who are deemed unfit for vaccination by a doctor
10. Can people who have been infected with COVID-19 get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, but they need to wait for a certain period of time before they can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
11. What are the common side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), side effects include arm pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, arthritis, fever, chills and diarrhea. Most symptoms will subside within a few days after the injection.
In some cases, people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine can develop a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which usually occurs shortly after the injection. As a result, people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be asked to stay at the vaccination site for approximately 15 minutes. If you have had an allergic reaction before, you will be asked to stay for 30 minutes. This is to make sure healthcare workers can immediately treat you if problems occur after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
More information (in Japanese) can be found on Japan Ministry of Health website.
12. What do I need to do before going to the COVID-19 vaccination site?
- Only come for injections when you don’t have a fever or symptoms of other diseases
- Bring your vaccination card and identification (e.g., passport, driver’s license, health insurance card)
- Print out and fill out the Coronavirus Vaccine Preliminary Examination Form (forms can also be submitted online)
- Wear comfortable clothing
13. What do I do once I arrive at the COVID-19 vaccination site?
- Present identification (e.g., driver’s license, health insurance card or valid passport)
- Complete and submit the Coronavirus Vaccine Preliminary Examination Form (as we mentioned earlier, this can be done online ahead of time which is highly recommended)
- Get your initial diagnosis (to check your health status)
- Get vaccination (takes about 1-2 minutes)
- Get a vaccination certificate (you will need to keep this for the second vaccination)
- Rest for 15 minutes to monitor your body’s condition after vaccination
14. Where can I find up-to-date sources about COVID-19 vaccinations?
- Documents related to COVID-19 vaccination by the Japanese Ministry of Health (available in English and 16 other languages)
- General introduction to COVID-19 vaccination by the Japanese Ministry of Health (Japanese)
- The Japan Ministry of Health COVID-19 vaccine web page (Japanese)
- Japanese Cabinet (English)
- NHK World Japan (English)
Smiles hopes you stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. If you find this information to be helpful, feel free to share this blog with your friends and family in Japan. We’re all in this together!