April 12, 2021 09:26
The government has decided to resume AstraZeneca vaccinations on Monday but limit them to people over 30. That means 640,000 young people who were to be inoculated in the second quarter are likely to miss out.
But about 135,000 under-30s who have already been given their first AstraZeneca jab will still be given the second shot unless they suffered blood clots in reaction to the first.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, announced the new plan on Sunday.
AstraZeneca vaccinations were suspended last Thursday after the European Medicines Agency and the U.K. classified rare blood clots as a possible side effect.
They resume Monday for teachers and care workers as well as patients under 60 in care homes.
The government decided to resume the jabs for fear that it might not be possible to achieve herd immunity by November. But vaccines are in short supply and the plan seems ever more unlikely to succeed because the government dragged its heels for too long.
The government is negotiating with Janssen and Novavax to secure more supplies and with Pfizer to bring delivery forward, but Janssen's vaccine has also been linked to a blood clot risk because it is an adenoviral vector vaccine like AstraZeneca.
The daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 587 on Monday morning, below 600 for the first time in six days due to fewer tests over the weekend. Accumulated cases in Korea have reached 110,146 with 1,770 deaths.
Last week, the government decided to maintain the current level of social distancing until May 2 with some stricter restrictions to entertainment facilities. Additionally, those who do not wear masks indoors will be now slapped with a fine of W100,000 as well (US$1=W1,121).
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