Jabs are coming and with them 'vaccine vacations'
From Thursday, the general public will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations in Korea, starting with people 75 and older.
The first target is 3,508,975 people born before Dec. 31, 1946. They are eligible for Pfizer shots at 46 vaccination centers nationwide.
The government is expanding regional vaccination centers, while also considering special inoculation methods for elderly people who have difficulty visiting centers.
Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong will receive an AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday as well.
Some Korean businessmen who travel overseas will be eligible for coronavirus jabs in April, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced Wednesday.
The KDCA will give the go-ahead for the inoculation of businesspeople who visit countries with high-risk of Covid-19 variants, as well as countries that require a certificate of vaccination.
The ministry said it has received a total of 632 applications for Covid-19 shots from local businesspeople from March 17 to 26.
With new inoculations set to kick off, people who have side-effects after getting vaccinated will be allowed to take a break from work of up to two days starting Thursday.
According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, patients who suffer from adverse reactions after vaccination can take a so-called "vaccine vacation" without a doctor's note.
The center recommends a one-day break after the inoculation, and if the adverse reaction continues, the patient can request an additional day off.
If symptoms last longer, the patient should visit a medical facility.
The vaccine vacation concept may first be tested by social workers and school nurses, who will receive shots in the first week of April, as well as essential personnel such as police, firefighters, and soldiers, who will get vaccinated in June.
However, the vaccine vacation concept is still a proposal and not mandatory for companies.
The government stressed that it did not make it mandatory in consideration of different situations for different companies.
Sohn Young-rae, a senior health official of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters, said in a briefing earlier on Sunday, "So far, one to two percent of people show abnormal reactions to the extent that they are unable to work or have to visit medical institutions. It seems unnecessary to give a day off to everyone vaccinated."
As of Tuesday midnight, Korea reported 506 more Covid-19 cases, including 491 local infections, raising the total caseload to 103,088. Two more deaths were added, increasing the death toll to 1,731.
BY SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]