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Almost 1 pct of population vaccinated in S. Korea

All News 10:36 March 11, 2021

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has inoculated almost 1 percent of its population in 13 days after the country launched its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccination campaign, health authorities here said Thursday.

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.

An accumulated 500,635 people were administered with their first shots as of midnight, which accounts for 0.96 percent of the country's 52 million population, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

The country earlier said it aims to achieve herd immunity by November after inoculating more than 70 percent of its population.

In this photo provided by Daegu Fire Service, a firefighter receives an AstraZeneca vaccine shot on March 8, 2021, when 344 new cases, including 11 from abroad, were reported. (Yonhap)

The KDCA said 64.5 percent of inoculation priority groups slated for between February and March have been inoculated, which is far faster than the rollout plan announced earlier.

Of the total, 487,704 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, 12,931 people received the first shot of U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s two-dose vaccine regimen. The group includes doctors, nurses and other health professionals treating COVID-19 patients in the greater Seoul area.

The vaccination campaign is expected to further gather pace as more medical workers and those at nursing homes get the vaccine shots down the road.

Also, the authorities approved the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 65 and older, as new overseas studies showed its effectiveness.

Health authorities are trying to stave off vaccine safety concerns as five people died after receiving their first jabs.

Investigations earlier showed that eight of 11 reported deaths had no direct links with AstraZeneca vaccines.

On Thursday, the country reported 465 more COVID-19 cases, staying in the 400s for the third consecutive day, the KDCA said. The total caseload increased to 94,198.

khj@yna.co.kr
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