Korea begins Covid-19 vaccinations

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Korea begins Covid-19 vaccinations

Lee Ha-yeon, 24, a nurse at an elderly care center, becomes the first person to receive a Covid-19 vaccination in Sejong on Friday. [KIM SUNG-TAE]

Lee Ha-yeon, 24, a nurse at an elderly care center, becomes the first person to receive a Covid-19 vaccination in Sejong on Friday. [KIM SUNG-TAE]

 
Korea on Friday kicked off its national Covid-19 vaccination scheme, marking the first step in the country’s plan to inoculate 70 percent of the population by November.
 
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), the first AstraZeneca shots were administered from 9 a.m., with the goal of vaccinating 5,266 people under the age of 65 at 213 nursing homes and other high-risk facilities on Friday.
 
The first round of vaccinations will continue throughout March for a total of around 289,480 people, representing 93.7 percent of residents and staff at high-risk facilities who had agreed to get vaccinated as of Thursday.
 
President Moon Jae-in visited a health clinic in Mapo District, western Seoul, to oversee the first vaccinations, and was briefed by KDCA chief Jeong Eun-kyeong on vaccination procedures rolled out across the country.
 
No single person became Korea’s No.1 recipient of a Covid-19 vaccine, as inoculations began simultaneously at health clinics and nursing homes throughout the country.  
 
Kim Jeong-ok, 57, an administrator of an elderly health care center, was the first person to be administered a shot in Dobong District, northern Seoul. She told reporters she felt slightly nauseous after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine at around 9:01 a.m. for around 15 minutes, but that such symptoms soon disappeared.
 
“I have great hopes, after hearing Britain’s daily infection count has dropped to a quarter [of levels before it began vaccinations] and that Israel is letting people take off masks from April,” she said.
 
“We have no choice but to have faith and vaccinate. I believe it will be fine.”
 
Other first recipients also bore witness to a smooth vaccination process. Kim Soon-hee, 57, a nurse who was first in line to receive a shot in Busan’s Haeundae District, said she felt less effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine than a regular influenza shot, stressing there was no pain at all.
 
“Some may feel anxious about the vaccine, but I hope all citizens receive it,” she said.
 
BY SHIM KYU-SEOK, LEE TAE-YUN [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]
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