May 18, 2021 10:11
Health authorities on Monday flagged the possibility that even travelers who have been inoculated with China's Sinopharm vaccine will be exempt from coronavirus quarantine here.
The quarantine waiver will extend to all travelers with certificates of WHO-authorized vaccines -- Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm -- although Sinopharm's effectiveness is relatively low.
Currently, only Korean travelers who have been fully vaccinated here are exempt from quarantine on return.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said the U.S. has a similar policy because if it restricted itself to vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, coronavirus passports would be severely limited.
Several countries are discussing mutual recognition of vaccine passports.
The Foreign Ministry wants to proceed country by country based on how strictly they check the process of giving out vaccine certificates and reciprocity, a spokesman said.
According to the WHO, the Sinopharm vaccine is 79 percent effective against symptomatic coronavirus, but its effectiveness for the elderly has not been assessed for lack of test subjects, and it is not known how effective it is against variants.
The other Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, is unlikely to be accepted anywhere except in some Chinese client states because it is only about 50 percent effective.
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