Fact Check: Japan Did NOT Ban COVID-19 Shots Over 'Soaring Sudden Deaths' -- There's No Ban At All

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Japan Did NOT Ban COVID-19 Shots Over 'Soaring Sudden Deaths' -- There's No Ban At All No Longer Free

Did Japan ban COVID vaccinations over "soaring sudden deaths" in the country? No, that's not true: There is no ban. Japan, like many other countries, has actively promoted COVID-19 vaccinations as a tool in combating the spread of the virus and protecting public health. The only change in Japan's vaccination program is that starting in April, residents will need to cover all or part of the expenses for their shots.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by News Addicts on March 24, 2024, titled "Japan Bans Covid Shots over Soaring Sudden Deaths." The story began:

Japan has just banned Covid mRNA shots for public use and called on other nations to follow suit after an official government study tied the injections to the nation's soaring sudden deaths.

This is what the article looked like on the News Addicts website at the time of writing:

In story.png

(Source: News Addicts screenshot taken on Wed Mar 27 21:38:13 2024 UTC)

Google search

A Google News search (archived here) using the words "Japan bans covid shots OR vaccinations" produced no results matching the claim. A regular Google search (archived here) also found nothing corroborating the allegation on the News Addicts site; instead, only social media posts and other websites were found parroting their article.

From free to pay

The only change Lead Stories could find in Japan's coronavirus vaccination program is that shots will no longer be free, starting in April 2024. The Mainichi newspaper (archived here) reported this on September 8, 2023:

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has decided not to extend the special exemption program for COVID-19 vaccines under Japan's Immunization Act, which expires at the end of March 2024.

Additionally, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper's website (archived here) reported on November 22, 2023:

Residents in Japan will have to pay for either a portion or the entire cost of a COVID-19 vaccination starting in April.

In most cases, people 65 or older will need to pay 70 percent of the total inoculation cost under plans the health ministry's expert panel approved on Nov. 22.

This also applies to those aged 60 to 64 with severe pre-existing health conditions.

Everyone else will need to bear the full cost of the vaccination unless their local governments or employers subsidize it.

Read more

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about COVID-19 vaccines can be found here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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