South Korea kicks off Covid vaccination campaign

WION Web Team
Seoul, South Korea Published: Feb 26, 2021, 05:33 PM(IST)

People in South Korea (file photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The first doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine began to be given on Friday morning to nursing home workers and some patients at facilities across the country of about 52 million.

South Korea launched its Covid inoculation campaign on Friday, with shots to be administered in some 200 nursing homes.

The first doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine began to be given on Friday morning to nursing home workers and some patients at facilities across the country of about 52 million.

By evening, 16,813 people had received their first doses, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

On Saturday, authorities plan to start giving the first of 117,000 doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE supplied through COVAX, an international COVID-19 vaccine-sharing programme, to about 55,000 healthcare workers in coronavirus treatment facilities.

The national pharmaceutical panel on Friday recommended the government approve that vaccine. Authorities will wait, however, for a final review committee before deciding whether to grant approval, which would allow the country to start using doses beyond those supplied by COVAX.

Despite complaints over a slow start, and debate over the efficacy of AstraZeneca's vaccine for older people, surveys show wide interest among South Koreans in being vaccinated.

After completing registration this month, more than 350,000 high-risk healthcare workers and around 78,000 first responders will in March begin to get the AstraZeneca shots, co-developed by Oxford University.

South Korea reported 406 new virus infections by Thursday. The country has so far recorded 88,922 infections and a death toll of 1,585.

Under the current level of distancing rules, cafes, restaurants and gyms can stay open until 10 p.m. (1300 GMT), and religious services and audiences at sporting events are limited to 20% and 10% capacity, respectively.

A proposal to revamp social distancing guidelines will come next week.

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