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[Newsmaker] COVID-19 vaccination tops 1 mln in S. Korea

Elderly citizens receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation center on the country's southern Jeju Island last Thursday, when inoculations for people aged 75 and older began across the nation. (Yonhap)
Elderly citizens receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation center on the country's southern Jeju Island last Thursday, when inoculations for people aged 75 and older began across the nation. (Yonhap)
South Korea has inoculated over 1 million people in 40 days since the country launched its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccination campaign, health authorities here said Tuesday.

An accumulated 1,014,019 people were administered with their first shots as of noon Tuesday, which account for around 1.95 percent of the country's 52 million population, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

On Feb. 26, the country began its inoculation program, with health care workers and patients aged below 65 at long-term care facilities, as well as front-line medical workers, among the first in line to receive their first shots.

Of the total, 870,724 people, mostly health care workers and patients at long-term care facilities, received the first jabs of the two-dose vaccine regimen developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the KDCA said.

Meanwhile, 129,145 people received the first shot of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s two-dose vaccine regimen. The group mostly includes doctors, nurses and other health professionals treating COVID-19 patients in the greater Seoul area.

The campaign has gained pace as COVID-19 vaccines were first administered to members of the general public aged 75 and older, as well as other virus-vulnerable groups on Thursday. The authorities plan to provide jabs to those aged between 65 and 74 in May.

Amid mounting concerns over the delayed shipment of vaccines due to supply glut of AstraZeneca vaccines, the authorities have said they have finalized the shipment schedule for the first half of the year.

Through the end of June, a total of 18.08 million doses of vaccines are scheduled to be delivered here, with around 2.69 million vaccine doses already shipped in as of March, the KDCA said.

During the April-June period, at least 15.39 million doses, which include 9.1 million AstraZeneca vaccines, are confirmed to be transported here, according to the KCDA.

A total of 36 deaths after vaccinations have been reported, but any link with vaccine shots has not yet confirmed, with 19 of them being concluded to have no direct links, the KDCA said. Other cases are still under review.

Of them, two cases were concluded to be anaphylactoid reactions, which has similar symptoms to anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction after immunization, it said.

On Tuesday, the country reported 475 more COVID-19 cases, staying in the 500s for the second consecutive day, the KDCA said. The total caseload increased to 106,230. (Yonhap)

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