September 27, 2021 09:01
Breakthrough coronavirus infections are rising among the vaccinated elderly, raising calls for booster shots as vaccines lose their efficacy faster than expected.
According to health authorities on Sunday, daily infections among people over 70 have been tallied in the double and triple figures. Their number spiked to 842 in the fourth week of September. In another group of 723 patients in their 70s who tested positive over the past two weeks, 524 of were fully vaccinated.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said, "Immunity is formed more slowly and weakens faster among the elderly than among younger generations."
Inoculations for people over 75 began in April, so they now lie almost six months back. "We need to increase immunity by giving booster shots to high-risk elderly groups in nursing homes," Jeong added.
But some experts point out that infection numbers alone are no cause for alarm. "Most elderly people have been fully vaccinated, so the proportion of the fully vaccinated who test positive has increased," said Jung Jae-hun of Gachon University's Gil Medical Center. "The effects of vaccines aren't wearing off particularly fast among those in their 70s and 80s."
Breakthrough infections are common among all age groups, but the vaccines are thought to reduce the severity of the illness.
As of Monday morning, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 2,383.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com