Accept your mistakesPresident Moon Jae-in on Sunday chaired the Covid-19 response meeting for the first time since December. He oversaw the meeting for the first time this year despite his past pledge that the Blue House will command disaster control. New infection cases remain in the four-digits despite the toughest-ever social distancing rules in the capital region over the last two weeks. He claimed the surge in infections has been somewhat contained. Still, the government is enforcing Level 3 rules outside the greater Seoul region this week with the tally on new cases hitting a weekend record-high of 1,487 amid a widening nationwide spread.
Moon repeatedly pleaded for “more patience,” while apologizing for the lengthy pain. For now, the government has no choice but to impose tough distancing guidelines. Due to frequent changes and tweaks to the rule, people must check if fitness centers in their towns are open. Speedy vaccination progress is the only hope.
The slow-moving vaccination plan has picked up but in a shaky manner. The electronic booking system for future vaccines crashed repeatedly due to a surge in demand. The crash and delay in booking is inevitable when the turn comes for those under 50s next month.
Jabs have started for those in their 50s. Their shots suddenly became Pfizer although they were earlier promised Moderna. The interval for the second jab was also stretched to four weeks from three weeks. The government explained that the stock is enough and the change has been made to keep shots to correspond with Moderna’s four-week gap. But citizens are not naïve enough to buy the excuse to cover up for the setback in vaccine stock.
Germany administers the second Pfizer shot three to six weeks after the first dose. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mandates people to receive two doses with 21 days (three weeks) apart. Doctors advise the timing period should not change arbitrarily without the basis of research. The change in the vaccine label, an interval period between first and second shots, and a different label for the second shot take place because not enough vaccines have been secured as promised.
The authority is making various excuses to hide the fact. But people are not fools. The government must frankly admit the difficulty in securing vaccines in time and seek public support and understanding instead of unsettling the people with deceptive excuses.