TOKYO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Tuesday said that it will provide free rubella vaccinations for three years to males who were not vaccinated in their childhood.
The move from the government comes amid an outbreak of the disease that could see foreign visitors to Japan and the tourist industry here severely hampered, with concerns growing about overseas visitors attending the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games a year after.
The number of rubella patients in Japan has reached 2,454 this year. This figure has topped the figure for 2012 when there was a previous outbreak.
"We have compiled the additional measure for the safety of the people. We will help municipalities organize antibody tests and vaccinations," said Health Minister Takumi Nemoto.
As a result, the government will offer antibody tests free through March 2022 for men aged between 39 and 56 who were not vaccinated when they were younger under state medical practices.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its alert level for the rubella outbreak in Japan to Level 2, just one level lower than its highest level of 3.
The center warned that pregnant women should not travel to Japan unless they have been vaccinated or previously infected.