September 13, 2021 10:16
More than 65.5 percent of Koreans have had at least their first dose of coronavirus vaccine, inching closer to the government's target of 70 percent by Chuseok.
According to health authorities, 33.13 million people or 75 percent of the adult population had had their first jab by last Saturday.
The pace has picked up since substantial amounts of vaccines were delivered in the first week of September. Now 2.9 million more people will have to get their first dose to reach the 70-percent target by Sept. 20.
If vaccination proceeds at the current rate of over 300,000 a day, that should be no problem.
According to Our World in Data, Korea's first-dose vaccination rate has now outpaced some major countries like the U.S. (62.15 percent) and Japan (62.16 percent) and could overtake Germany's 65.81 percent before inching towards France's 72.99 percent.
But only 20.04 million Koreans or 39 percent are fully vaccinated, including with the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That is a long way behind the U.S.' 52.9 percent and Germany's 61.46 percent.
The government remains worried about the spread of the virus as people travel to their ancestral hometowns over Chuseok as daily new infections still hover around 2,000.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-chul said on Sunday, "Whether the pandemic will spike throughout the country again or it will abate depends on how well people comply with lockdown rules over Chuseok."
The daily tally of new infections stood at 1,433 as of Monday morning.
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