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Anchor: Frontline medical workers in South Korea will receive the first COVID-19 vaccines starting next month, with the general public to be inoculated starting in the second half of the year. Health authorities are aiming to achieve herd immunity by November.
Park Jong-hong has the details.
Report: Starting from next month, medical professionals treating COVID-19 patients at hospitals and treatment centers in the greater Seoul area will be able to receive the first vaccines.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) announced Thursday that an estimated 50-thousand frontline medical workers will be vaccinated. They’ll be followed by another 780-thousand that includes patients at mental institutions and elderly care facilities, as well as high-risk health care workers.
Then from mid-March, medical workers at general hospitals with a high number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms will be inoculated.
Also at this time, other frontline COVID-19 workers such as paramedics, quarantine officers and epidemiological investigators will be vaccinated.
Health authorities said that 440-thousand people are expected to get vaccinated in that round.
To be inoculated in the second quarter are people aged 65 or older, and those admitted to or working at other high-risk facilities for the elderly and disabled, who account for an estimated 9-point-four million people.
A total of 380-thousand health care workers at neighborhood clinics, including dentists, and pharmacists across the country will also be eligible for vaccinations.
From the third quarter, vaccines will be provided to the general public, starting with those suffering from chronic diseases and then moving on to all adults between 19 and 64.
According to the Defense Ministry, a military support team will be entrusted with overseeing that private distributors, which have clinched deals with the government to transport vaccines, are properly observing government regulations.
The KDCA said the goal is to get 70 percent of South Korea’s population inoculated by September and form so-called herd immunity by November. COVID-19 vaccines will be free to everyone in South Korea, including foreign residents.
Park Jong-hong, KBS World Radio News.