Go to Contents Go to Navigation

S. Korea to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations amid spiking cases

All News 10:45 April 26, 2021

SEOUL, April 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as the country has secured sufficient shots amid supply shortage concerns to achieve herd immunity by November, the country's acting prime minister said Monday.

In a public message, Acting Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki sought to allay public concerns about a shortage of vaccines and slow progress in the vaccine rollout as the country is bracing for another wave of infections.

Over the weekend, South Korea clinched a deal with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to import additional vaccines for 20 million people.

With the latest deal, the country has secured 192 million doses in total, enough to inoculate 99 million people, an amount almost double the nation's 52 million population.

"With the latest deal with Pfizer, the country has laid the ground for advancing the timetable of herd immunity. We've also prepared for expanding vaccinations to those under 18 and booster shots in response to virus variants," Hong said.

Since South Korea began its vaccination campaign on Feb. 26, a total of 2.26 million people, or 4.4 percent of the 52 million population, have got at least their first shots.

Flight crew members wait at a hospital in western Seoul to receive COVID-19 vaccines on April 19, 2021. (Yonhap)

The country aims to vaccinate 3 million people by this month and 12 million by end-June, with a goal of attaining herd immunity by November.

"The country plans to pump up efforts to vaccinate 1.5 million people per day by May," Hong said.

Public anxiety about COVID-19 vaccines increased in recent weeks over safety concerns, and the country has witnessed spiking virus cases amid the fast spread of highly contagious variants and a global shortage of vaccines.

South Korea has secured COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX global vaccine project and separate deals with five pharmaceutical firms -- AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen and Novavax.

Mindful of security concerns, the country has been administering AstraZenaca and Pfizer shots to people in specific groups, including patients and workers at long-term care hospitals and those age 75 and older.

The number of daily virus cases shot up to near 800 last week on sporadic cluster infections after staying in the 300-400s in March. The country reported 500 more cases Monday, raising the total to 119,387, due to fewer weekend tests.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!