Skip to main content




South Korea hails arrival of COVID-19 vaccines as first step in 'return to normal'

South Korea hails arrival of COVID-19 vaccines as first step in 'return to normal'

FILE PHOTO: Participants take part in the COVID-19 vaccination mock drill at the COVID-19 vaccination center in Seoul, on Feb 9, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Pool)

SEOUL: South Korea shipped its first doses of a coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday (Feb 24), transferring AstraZeneca vaccines from a production facility in the country to a warehouse outside the capital of Seoul in preparation for this week's inoculation drive.

Healthcare workers are scheduled to receive the first batch of AstraZeneca's vaccine from Friday, as South Korea looks to protect 10 million high-risk people by July, on its way to reaching herd immunity by November.

AstraZeneca shots enough for about 750,000 people will be distributed from a production facility of SK Chemicals unit SK bioscience to immunisation centres across the country starting on Wednesday.

"We start the first historic vaccination on Friday with the vaccines rolled out today," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting. "This is the first step that will lead us to a long-waited return to normal."

READ: South Korea cuts Q1 COVID-19 vaccination plan, restricts use of AstraZeneca shot

READ: South Korea doctors threaten strike, fanning fears of COVID-19 vaccine rollout disruption

Last week, a government poll showed almost 94 per cent of 367,000 healthcare workers aged 64 or younger in priority groups said they were ready to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, despite concerns over its efficacy in older people.

"The government is thoroughly preparing the entire process of vaccine roll-out from shipment to transportation, distribution, vaccination and adverse reaction management so that the public can receive the shots with confidence," Chung said.

READ: Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine gets nod in South Korea from first of three expert panels

READ: South Korea reaches deals to buy more COVID-19 vaccines for 23 million people

Seoul's acting mayor Seo Jung-hyup on Wednesday said the large-scale vaccination plan will only be possible with widespread public participation.

"In order to implement the Seoul city vaccination plan according to the timetable, the trust and cooperation of citizens are absolutely necessary," he told a briefing.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak:

Source: Reuters


Also worth reading