S Korea injects first shots in public vaccination campaign

More than 5,260 residents and workers at 213 nursing homes, mental institutions and rehab centers who are younger than 65 were to receive their first shots of the two-dose vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Friday.An unspecified number of patients and workers at 292 long-term care hospitals and in the same age group will also get the vaccine, according to officials at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.Health authorities plan to complete injecting the first doses to some 344,000 residents and workers at long-term care settings and 55,000 frontline medical workers by the end of March.

PTI | Seoul | Updated: 26-02-2021 09:56 IST | Created: 26-02-2021 09:31 IST
S Korea injects first shots in public vaccination campaign
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

South Korea administered its first available shots of coronavirus vaccines to people at long-term care facilities Friday, launching a mass immunization campaign that health authorities hope will restore some level of normalcy by the end of the year.

The rollout of vaccines come at a critical time for the country, which has seen its hard-won gains against the virus get wiped out by a winter surge and is struggling to mitigate the pandemic's economic shock that decimated service sector jobs. The vaccinations began shortly before the country reported another new 406 cases of the coronavirus, bringing its caseload to 88,922, including 1,585 deaths. "I felt very anxious over the past year, but I feel more secure now after receiving the vaccine," said Lee Gyeong-soon, a 61-year-old nursing home worker, who spoke with reporters after receiving her shot at a public health center in northern Seoul. Long-term care residents with mobility problems received injections from visiting health workers at their facilities. More than 5,260 residents and workers at 213 nursing homes, mental institutions and rehab centers who are younger than 65 were to receive their first shots of the two-dose vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Friday.

An unspecified number of patients and workers at 292 long-term care hospitals and in the same age group will also get the vaccine, according to officials at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Health authorities plan to complete injecting the first doses to some 344,000 residents and workers at long-term care settings and 55,000 frontline medical workers by the end of March. "We have taken the historic first step toward restoring normalcy," senior Health Ministry official Son Young-rae said during a briefing. He said the government has decided to extend current social distancing levels for at least another two weeks, clamping down on private social gatherings of five or more people and banning indoor dining after 10 p.m., to help create a safe environment for vaccinations. Long-term care facilities, where elders or people with serious health problems often live in crowded settings, have endured the worst of South Korea's outbreak. About 35% of the country's COVID-19 deaths at the end of 2020 were linked to these facilities, said Jaehun Jung, a professor of preventive medicine at the Gachon University College of Medicine in Incheon. But there's criticism over the government's decision to delay the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines for people over 65 until the developers provide more data that suggests the shots would be effective in that age group. Some experts, including Jung, say the decision risks the safety of people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 when the country will be chiefly dependent on locally produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines during the early part of its vaccination campaign. Despite what the government sees as a lack of laboratory data on its efficacy in older adults, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is still showing real-world effectiveness in preventing serious illnesses and lowering death rates in the countries where it was used, the experts say. People over 80 account for just 5% of the country's coronavirus cases, but 56 percent of its virus-related deaths, Jung said. Using refrigerated trucks escorted by police and military vehicles, South Korea transported 1.57 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines across the country from Wednesday to Thursday.

These shots were among the global supplies produced in the southern city of Andong, where local pharmaceutical company SK Bioscience manufactures the vaccines under a contract with AstraZeneca. Separately, doctors, nurses and other health professionals treating COVID-19 patients will begin receiving the shots developed by Pfizer and BioNTech from Saturday. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which South Korea obtained through the WHO-backed COVAX program, arrived at Incheon International Airport on Friday and will be transported to five major COVID-19 treatment hospitals. South Korea plans to complete injecting the first doses to some 344,000 residents and workers at long-term care facilities, which also include mental institutions and rehab centers, and 55,000 frontline medical workers within March.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Videos

Latest News

WRAPUP 5-European powers warn Iran over 'dangerous' uranium enrichment move

The European countries party to the Iran nuclear deal told Tehran on Wednesday its decision to enrich uranium at 60 purity, bringing the fissile material closer to bomb-grade, was contrary to efforts to revive the 2015 accord. But in an app...

WHO calls for equitable access to healthcare to every Chagas disease patient

Today on World Chagas Disease Day, the World Health Organization WHO has called for comprehensive and equitable access to health care and services to everyone affected by Chagas disease. An estimated 6 to 7 million people worldwide are infe...

'Tika Utsav': India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage crosses 11.43 crore mark

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has surpassed the 11.43 crore mark on the fourth day of the Tika Utsav or vaccination festival, with more than 31.39 lakh vaccine doses being administered till 8 pm...

The bell for Mamata s departure has already rung : Nadda

BJP president J P Nadda Wednesday hit out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the language she used against BJP top leaders and for disrespecting the culture of Bengal and said the bell for her departure has already rung.Contending that t...

Give Feedback