What about vaccines?Without a sure cure for the novel coronavirus strain, vaccines are posed as the sole relief to the pandemic. But the government’s vaccine program has been far from comforting. Britain has already declared “V-Day,” rolling out vaccines last week. The United States also began immunization.
Expectations are brimming in the two countries for a final turning point in the epidemic. America envisions vaccinating 100 million citizens by March next year to achieve collective immunity by May or June. Canada is next to start vaccinating. Japan is expected to follow suit. We can only envy other countries moving closer to the end of the Covid-19 struggle.
The domestic development of vaccines has been frustrating to a hopeless point. We do not know when or what vaccines will arrive. People will pay the price for the delayed and misjudged vaccine program.
In the meantime, locations for free test sites installed across Korea saw long lines on Monday and Tuesday despite the cold spell. People have rushed to take tests to find out if they are infected.
President Moon Jae-in attended a disaster measures meeting for the first time since February, observing the “worst crisis” since the arrival of Covid-19 earlier this year. He urged the best of Korean quarantine actions to combat the crisis. But he has not given any explanation for the delay in vaccines. “We are at the final stage before vaccines and cures arrive. Until then, social distancing is the best vaccine and cure,” he said.
But people have kept to social distancing for a long time. What they want to hear is why daily infection cases hover around 1,000 even after they have endured inconveniences and business shutdowns — and when this ordeal will end.
Ruling party head Lee Nak-yon was more specific and vowed to introduce cures by late January and vaccinations before March. But few would believe his words about vaccines that depend on global supply. Politicians must not use vaccine programs for a populist aim ahead of the by-elections for Seoul and Busan mayoral posts in April.
Either the president or the prime minister must clarify their vaccine program to the people, as a timetable is the only way to appease public apprehensions and draw support.