February 09, 2021 11:21
AstraZeneca's vaccine is expected to arrive in Korea on Feb. 24, but the over-65s could miss out since the brand's efficacy for the elderly is unproven.
"Another vaccine could be administered to elderly people," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told the National Assembly on Monday.
Health authorities also said they could buy Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in preparation for uncertainties amid the spread of new coronavirus variants here.
The arrival date of Pfizer's vaccine through the WHO-led COVAX Facility has been delayed, and Moderna's vaccine is yet determined, so they will at best become available in limited quantities in the second quarter.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said that she will "consider" securing additional vaccines due to uncertainties like the spread of variants and supply problems.
The KDCA had not been keen on Russia's Sputnik V vaccine but changed its position Monday. There is growing interest among European countries in the Russian and even Chinese vaccines despite doubts about their efficacy and safety. China's Sinovac vaccine is only 50 percent effective.
"The Russian vaccine seems quite good if we look at the research results alone," said Ma Sang-hyuk, vice president of the Korean Vaccine Society. "But whether people here will trust it is another question."
Meanwhile, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 303 as of Tuesday morning.
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