A system glitch caused by U.S. technology firm Salesforce.com Inc. disrupted Japan's coronavirus vaccinations Wednesday, forcing at least 11 municipalities to stop accepting reservations from the elderly.
The Japan unit of the company apologized for the five-hour disruption in processing online reservations at the municipalities across eight prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka. The problem, linked to its system maintenance, was resolved by 11:20 a.m.
Some of the affected municipalities also stopped taking reservations by phone to deal with the situation.
Tokyo's Meguro Ward said some 2,000 people aged 75 or above had made reservations to get their shots on Wednesday. However, the local government became unable to verify their bookings due to the glitch but inoculated them anyway since they had reservations.
Japan last month began inoculating people aged 65 or older, totaling some 36 million or 29 percent of its population following the vaccine rollout for health care workers in February. The government aims to finish vaccinating the elderly by the end of July.
The Defense Ministry, which will open large-scale vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka later this month, said it will start receiving online reservations next Monday.
The ministry aims to inoculate up to 10,000 people a day at the Tokyo site, mainly targeting elderly people living in the capital and its three nearby prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, and up to 5,000 at the Osaka venue for senior residents in Osaka and neighboring Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.