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Korea Halts First-Dose Appointments Of COVID-19 Vaccine Due To Supply Shortage

by Serena Martinez / May 04, 2021 06:54 AM EDT
COVID-19 Vaccine

Due to a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, the South Korean government has halted new vaccination appointments for a month as the country's Ministry of Health and Welfare stated that it would prioritize those getting second doses for now. First dose appointments will resume when the additional vaccine supply becomes available.

As of Tuesday, a report said that the remaining supply of AstraZenica vaccine in the country is only 332,140 doses while Pzifer vaccine is at 471,150. The combined remaining number of vaccines can cover around 400,000 people as two doses of COVID-19 vaccine are required for maximum protection from this pandemic.

As of Friday, more than 2,200 vaccination clinics in the country were forced to cancel their scheduled vaccine appointments. First-dose vaccinations will possibly resume on May 26 or 27.

Acting Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki said in a previous report that a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine supply would make it harder for the country to achieve herd immunity by November 2021. South Korea is now accelerating its COVID-19 vaccine campaign with additional vaccine doses the country recently secured. 

The South Korean government is currently concentrating its efforts on virus response, including the security of supplying enough vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Through careful and comprehensive efforts, the government is very confident in achieving this.

South Korea recently made another deal with pharmaceutical company Pfizer to purchase enough COVID-19 vaccines for 20 million people. This also includes the latest deal in which the government has also signed a deal to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for 99 million people. This is near double the country's current total population.

Hong Nam-ki also expressed in his public message that herd immunity may be achieved even earlier and the government is prepared for sudden demand for more vaccine doses in the future. He made it clear that the country has secured enough shots to protect South Korea from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also expressed that the news of a so-called vaccine drought is not true, and everyone is advised to cooperate and only share news sources from reliable media platforms to prevent the spread of excessive public anxiety and fake news.

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