April 08, 2021 11:57
The government on Wednesday decided to suspend AstraZeneca vaccination of people under 60 amid mounting fears of blood clots and other side effects.
Vaccinations of under-60s will be temporarily suspended while teachers and care workers who were supposed to get vaccinated starting from Thursday will have to wait until further notice. Some 38,771 people under 60 have already had their AstraZeneca jab, and another 142,202 were scheduled to receive it.
Health officials reached that decision after reports in Europe linking rare cerebral blood clots among young people to the vaccine.
Another case suspected of being linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine was reported in Korea too. According to health officials, a medical worker in her 20s was diagnosed with blood clots in her leg and lungs earlier this week after getting her jab on March 17. It was the third case here. Health authorities said the woman's condition improved after she was given an anticoagulant.
The decision to halt AstraZeneca vaccination of under-60s is being made around the world. The European Medicines Agency said Wednesday it discovered "rare" blood clots linked to AstraZeneca's vaccine. The U.K., where the vaccine originates, is considering suspending it for people under 30.
Korea had planned to inoculate 7.7 million people with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the second quarter and currently has almost no alternative vaccine.
Yoo Jin-hong, who heads the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases, said, "I support the government's decision to suspend AstraZeneca injections, but it was unfortunate that it failed to secure enough supplies of a range of vaccines."
A government official said, "We are in talks to secure either Janssen or Moderna vaccines and are also considering speeding up authorization of the Novavax vaccine that will be manufactured locally starting in June."
The daily tally of new coronavirus infections soared to 700 as of Thursday morning, the highest since early January.
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