Young S. Koreans turn to leftover Pfizer vaccine doses amid COVID-19 resurgence
SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap)-- As South Korea is grappling with the fourth wave of the new coronavirus pandemic, those in their 20s and 30s, most of whom are not yet eligible for vaccinations, are rushing to sign up for leftover Pfizer vaccine doses made available this month.
The young adults have been pushed to the back of the line in the country's COVID-19 vaccination scheme, which kicked off in February. Starting July 5, they were allowed to apply for leftover COVID-19 vaccine doses made by Pfizer.
A company worker, surnamed Lee, has taken the latter half of Wednesday off to take inoculation slots that usually pop up in the afternoon.
"The recent spread of the delta variant here made me more anxious as I cannot work from home," the 26-year-old said. "I plan to monitor the application platforms all afternoon."
On Wednesday, South Korea saw a fresh high of over 1,600 new virus cases amid the fast spread of the more contagious variant, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
Only a few people have succeeded in reserving spare doses as demand far outweighs supply.
Success stories of vaccine reservations went viral online. They often share tips, such as that it will be more likely to pull off the booking around lunchtime or between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Thirty-somethings were earlier given an opportunity to apply for leftover AstraZeneca vaccine doses, but many shunned them due to concerns about potential side effects. They are now jumping in to receive Pfizer's jabs.
"I did not want to get AstraZeneca's vaccine and stayed away from applying for its leftover doses last month, but now I want to get inoculated to protect my health and my family's, not just because of vaccine incentives," a 33-year-old office worker, surnamed Hwang, said.
Most of those in their 20s and 30s are currently ineligible for vaccine application, except inoculation priority groups, such as front-line medical workers, police officers and teachers.
The late inoculation schedule drew complaints from some of the younger population who face a potentially higher risk of being exposed to the virus because they are more socially and economically active than elderly people.
"I cannot understand why (the authorities) are discriminating against those in their 20s in vaccination when they can also catch the coronavirus," a 29-year-old, surnamed Koh, said.
"It is unfair that people blame the spread of the virus on the deviation of 20- and 30 somethings when we cannot even get vaccinated."
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