South Korea hails arrival of virus vaccines as first step in 'return to normal'

Ed JONES / AFP

South Korea shipped its first doses of a coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday in preparation for this week's inoculation drive.

Healthcare workers are scheduled to receive the first batch of AstraZeneca PLC's vaccine from Friday, as South Korea looks to protect 10 million high-risk people by July, on its way to reaching herd immunity by November.

AstraZeneca shots enough for about 750,000 people will be distributed from a production facility of SK Chemicals Co Ltd unit SK bioscience to immunisation centres across the country starting on Wednesday.

"We start the first historic vaccination on Friday with the vaccines rolled out today," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting. "This is the first step that will lead us to a long-waited return to normal."

Last week, a government poll showed almost 94 per cent of 367,000 healthcare workers aged 64 or younger in priority groups said they were ready to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, despite concerns over its efficacy in older people.

"The government is thoroughly preparing the entire process of vaccine roll-out from shipment to transportation, distribution, vaccination and adverse reaction management so that the public can receive the shots with confidence," Chung said.

Seoul acting mayor Seo Jung-hyup on Wednesday said the large-scale vaccination plan will only be possible with widespread public participation.

"In order to implement the Seoul city vaccination plan according to the timetable, the trust and cooperation of citizens are absolutely necessary," he told a briefing.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • Afternoons with Helen Farmer

    2:00pm - 5:00pm

    Every weekday afternoon, Helen Farmer will help you to navigate the highs and lows of life in the UAE. Stay up to date with what’s happening and where to go.

  • Off Script with Chris, Robbie & Sonal

    5:00pm - 7:00pm

    The UAE’s alternative take on news, entertainment and sport. Join Chris, Robbie and Sonal as they cut through the clutter to bring you the news, entertainment and sport stories that actually matter.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Meet Gift, female food delivery driver

    Gift came here from Nigeria and failed to find a job, until a pizza company offered her one. She's now one of the very few female delivery drivers in the UAE.

  • FARMER'S KITCHEN

    Farmer's Kitchen is back for 2021!
    With our partners Spinneys, we are going to help you wave goodbye to boring dinners, cluttered fridges, and lumpy leftovers!