[Photo by Lee Chung-woo]
South Korea is expected to reach herd immunity before its initial target as the country’s mass Covid-19 vaccination drive is picking up speed, said President Moon Jae-in Monday.
“Vaccination rate is climbing rapidly and herd immunity will likely be achieved earlier,” Moon was quoted as saying during a special meeting on the coronavirus prevention and control at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday. The government initially targeted to attain the country’s herd immunity by November.
President Moon expected that 36 million South Koreans will get at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose by the end of the third quarter of this year, which will include more than 14 million doses in the first half upon the arrival of 1.01 million doses of Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine. This means about 70 percent of the nation`s population will get the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least by September.
This is a significant development in Korea’s vaccination situation after months of sluggish immunization process due to the government’s delayed inoculation drive.
Moon’s high expectation for the country’s herd immunity has revived after Korea added more than 1 million doses of Janssen Covid-19 vaccine from the United States last week as U.S. President Joe Biden pledged during his summit with President Moon last month. President Biden promised that Washington would provide Covid vaccines for South Korea’s 550,000 active service members who work closely with U.S. troops, and the U.S. later nearly doubled shipment volume.
To ensure stable vaccine supply, Moon vowed that the government will move promptly to sign contracts for the introduction of vaccines for next year.
The government will also increase support to local vaccine developers with promising vaccine candidates that enter phase 3 trials in the third quarter to help secure vaccine sovereignty, while speeding follow-up on the recent summit deal with the United States on "global vaccine partnership," Moon said.
President Moon said that with the accelerated vaccination rate, the government hopes people can spend the upcoming summer vacation season more comfortably and gather with their families at least with masks off during the Chuseok holidays in September.
In July, the government plans to provide vaccine shots to school-teachers and K12 students facilitate safe and stable school learning and preparation for college admission.
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]