Yang Dong-gyo, head of the medical safety prevention bureau of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (Yonhap)
South Korea said Friday it would prioritize frontline workers and people in high-risk groups in vaccinations, but some of them may have to wait until November next year.
Yang Dong-gyo, head of the medical safety prevention bureau of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said at a briefing that the government aims to complete the vaccinations before the flu season begins in November.
Priority groups include the elderly, residents of group facilities such as nursing homes, chronically ill patients and health care workers.
He added that the government would continuously monitor the volume of vaccines, the domestic situation of COVID-19 and vaccinations in overseas countries to flexibly adjust the timing of the vaccination.
Currently, AstraZeneca vaccine is the only vaccine that the government has actually secured. This is compared to other 30 countries where vaccinations will take place this month, including the US and the UK, which have already begun inoculations.
South Korea is pushing for contracts this month with Johnson & Johnson-Janssen and Pfizer to supply COVID-19 vaccines for 4 million people and 10 million people, respectively. It hopes to sign a further deal, to cover another 10 million people, with Moderna next month.
Officials said at the briefing that, “Vaccines will be introduced in stages starting from February to March next year, and in consideration of the short expiration date, the government will ask individual companies to supply step-by-step in conjunction with the inoculation plan.”
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org)