The Korea Herald

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More than 40% of teenagers are fully vaccinated

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 17, 2021 - 16:01

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A student receives a COVID-19 vaccination at a school in Gwangju, Thursday through the outreach vaccination program. (Education Ministry) A student receives a COVID-19 vaccination at a school in Gwangju, Thursday through the outreach vaccination program. (Education Ministry)


As of Thursday, more than 50 percent of youths between 12 and 17 in Korea have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and some 40.1 percent are fully vaccinated, officials said Friday.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 1.55 million teenagers, 55.9 percent of the age group, have received the first dose of the vaccine.

The rate of vaccination in older youths is higher, compared to a younger age group. More than 70 percent of those aged between 16 and 17 have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some 67.9 percent have been fully vaccinated. All of them receive the Pfizer vaccine.

To encourage the vaccination of youths, authorities will receive reservations until Dec. 31. Youths in the age group can also walk-in for vaccination at medical centers.

Authorities strongly suggest those aged between 12 and 17 to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as the rate of infection in the age group has been on the rise after Korea moved on to the now-scrapped “living with COVID-19” scheme more than a month ago.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said, as of Sunday, 16.1 percent of 31,174 COVID-19 patients between the age of 12 and 17 are hospitalized and 14 patients are in serious condition.

While the vaccination rate of teenagers is on the rise, the government-led outreach vaccination program has been experiencing hiccups.

Though the Education Ministry announced the program to kick off on Wednesday, most schools have not yet been prepared and are to run the program from next week.

Some schools in Gwangju, Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province began the program Thursday. They have medical staff visit schools to administer vaccines to students or allow students visit medical centers during school hours for inoculation. But they have faced difficulties due to the lack of staffing at public health centers and opposition from parents.

Some schools have reportedly pulled out from the program due to low demand. The students would have to be vaccinated individually.

According to the Ministry of Education, 83,928 out of 489,062 students said they were willing to be vaccinated through the outreach program in a survey, accounting for about 7 percent of the age group, including teenagers outside of schools.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)