A medical worker at a senior care facility gets the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a public health center in southern Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)
South Korea's finance minister voiced hope on Friday that the start of the country's COVID-19 vaccine program will help people return to normal lives and give a boost to an economic recovery.
Earlier in the day, more than 5,000 health care workers and patients aged under 65 at some 5,800 long-term care facilities across the nation began receiving the first doses of novel coronavirus vaccines.
"I believe that the onset of the COVID-19 inoculation will give a precious boost to helping people return to their normal daily lives and prop up an economic recovery," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki wrote in a Facebook message.
The South Korean economy is on a mild recovery track on the back of improving exports. But domestic demand and the job market remain sluggish amid the protracted pandemic.
The country has secured enough coronavirus vaccine doses to inoculate 79 million people, higher than its population of 51.6 million. It aims to achieve herd immunity by November. (Yonhap)