SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans on Thursday began to get the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine provided by the United States, with many of them hoping for an imminent return to normal life.
The Janssen vaccine, the fourth to be imported into South Korea after AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, is dubbed the "one-shot vaccine" as it is administered as a single dose. Other vaccines require two doses.
In accordance with a summit agreement between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden last month, shipments of 1.01 million doses of the Janssen vaccine arrived here on June 5. The Moon government said the Janssen vaccine will be administered to 894,000 military-related personnel, including members of reserve forces and civil defense corps between age 30 and 60. Reservations for 900,000 doses were completed within 18 hours on June 1.
A clinic in Incheon, west of Seoul, was crowded all day with young men waiting for a Janssen vaccine shot. "We inoculated 91 people with Janssen vaccines today. Another 100 people booked a vaccination appointment tomorrow," a clinic official said.
Despite concern about side effects from some vaccines, a growing number of South Koreans tired of the prolonged COVID-19 outbreaks wish to get vaccinated to return to normal life. The Janssen vaccine was temporarily paused in the U.S. in April due to rare cases of serious blood clots in women who had received that vaccine.
"I've heard that the Janssen vaccine is around 60 percent effective (in preventing COVID-19). But considering the benefit of herd immunity, I think it would be better to get the vaccine," said a 33-year-old civil defense corps member surnamed Lee.
"I don't have any special plan after vaccination, but I booked a Janssen vaccine appointment because it requires only one shot and I wish the coronavirus crisis would end soon," he said.
Another civil defense corps member, named Joo Seung-hoon, 35, said that he had jitters about a vaccine that has yet to be fully proven but decided to be vaccinated due to his wish to lead an ordinary daily life.
A 35-year-old man surnamed Park who got a Janssen vaccine shot from a hospital in Jeonju, southwestern South Korea, said he hopes he can take off his mask and play futsal with his acquaintances soon, as authorities reportedly plan to allow vaccinated people to engage in outdoor activities without masks starting in July.
Lee Sang-eun, a 39-year-old resident in the southeastern city of Changwon, said he feels lucky to receive the Janssen vaccine as a member of the civil defense corps.
"I have looked forward to getting a vaccine as I am getting married next month. I think I'm lucky because I got a good opportunity nearly at the end of my civil defense service," Lee said, adding that he felt a little hot and slight pain the moment he got the Janssen vaccine.
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