The president has said South Korea's receipt and use of COVID-19 vaccines have gone smoother than expected, expressing optimism that its goal of immunizing 12 million people in the first half of the year could be raised by one million if the country continues to maximize its vaccine adoption.
Chairing a special virus response meeting on Monday, President Moon Jae-in on Monday reiterated that the government has secured sufficient vaccines for twice the population and has beat its goal of inoculating three million people with their first shots by April by 10 percent.
Addressing concerns over a looming shortage, Moon asked officials to step up efforts to ensure transparency and correct misinformation to prevent public jitters.
He said the Pfizer vaccine will be stably supplied by the week throughout the month of May, while a larger than previously anticipated volume of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive. He underlined that the government's vaccination plan is one that has been carefully crafted and that the first and second shots are being administered in a way that would maximize their effectiveness.
Moon asked for maximum personnel cooperation from the private sector and local governments for the vaccination program in order to achieve herd immunity earlier than November.
The president also called for domestic vaccine development, highlighting the importance of vaccine sovereignty amid fierce global competition. He urged the public to trust the government and cooperate in vaccination and quarantine-related efforts, saying such participation would pull forward the timeline to a return to life as normal.