Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hae (back center) visits a vaccination clinic in Gangnam, southern Seoul, on Friday. (Yonhap)
People who are eligible under Seoul’s priority vaccination plan can get jabbed at COVID-19 vaccination clinics without prior registration, city officials said Monday.
The change in policy comes after complaints that vaccine appointments were denied to over 10,000 people, many of them foreigners. Now, the city says there is no need to book a date at all before priority groups can get vaccinated.
Seoul was allotted Pfizer vaccines enough for 200,000 people by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency earlier this month to run its own priority vaccinations. The nationwide campaign, overseen by the agency, is still delivering first-dose vaccinations to people in their 60s to early 70s.
Teachers at private tutoring academies and delivery workers are among those newly included on the city’s priority list to be offered their first vaccinations before the end of this month.
There are about 14,000 people -- Korean and foreign alike -- according to the city, who remain unable to schedule their vaccinations due to errors with the system since registration opened last week.
In multiple phone calls Sunday, two officials at Seoul’s vaccination task force and press relations, respectively, said the policy had been changed Saturday to allow people to receive the vaccination at city-run clinics before July 24, if they are able to present proof of identity, such as the alien registration card.
On the map pages, click on the three horizontal stripes in the top left corner (A) which will bring you to the page on the left. After choosing the “Vaccine Clincs” icon in the middle (B), click on the “View Map” button located on the bottom of the screen. When the map comes up, center, look for the icon on the top right corner (C) to switch the map’s language. The screenshot on the right is a view of the language options available. Click (D) to access the English version. (The Korea Herald)
There are some 30 COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the city that handle administration of mRNA-type vaccines like those of Pfizer and Moderna. Their locations can be viewed on a virtual map at map.seoul.go.kr/smgis2/short/6Naup
“All of the vaccination clinics have been informed Saturday that eligible people with valid proof of identity can get the vaccine without making reservations,” said a press relations official after The Korea Herald’s questions Monday concerning some people without a date who were still unable to get vaccinated.
“We are looking to extend the designated period for priority vaccinations until the end of the month beyond this Saturday, as previously intended,” he said. He said staff at the clinics were instructed again Monday of the policy changes, and that the systems already had a list of people who are due for vaccination.
In a briefing Monday, the national disease control agency’s official Kim Ki-nam said eligible people failing to obtain a slot for vaccination was likely a result of “names and other personal information being mistyped or omitted.”
“That doesn’t mean they lose eligibility. The agency and respective offices hold the list of people who are eligible, and all of them will receive vaccinations in due time,” he said.
Another official at the agency’s vaccination management team said in a text message exchange that the agency so far had no plans to offer the vaccine registration systems, which are available only in Korean, in other languages. The only foreign-language access for COVID-19-related information is via 1339, the agency’s hotline operating 24 hours.
By Kim Arin (firstname.lastname@example.org