Teens and pregnant women get ready for jabs
Minors aged 12 to 17 and pregnant women will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations next month, and booster shots will be offered people over the age of 59 and front-line medical workers.
The interval between mRNA vaccine shots — Pfizer and Moderna — is also being shortened from six to five or four weeks.
The Covid-19 Vaccination Task Force unveiled Monday details of its vaccination plan for October in a bid to attain a fully-vaccinated rate of 90 percent for the elderly and 80 percent for adults by the end of October.
About 2.77 million children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 who have been excluded from the country’s vaccination campaign will start getting short from mid-October. Pfizer vaccines will be used with a three-week interval.
Considering the schedules for mid-term and final exams as well as the schedule for flu shots, health authorities and the Education Ministry decided to administer shots to children and teenagers sequentially based on age.
Adolescents aged 16 to 17 — born between 2004 to 2005 — can make reservations from Oct. 5 to 29 to get their jabs from Oct. 18 to Nov. 13.
People between the ages of 12 and 15 — born between 2006 and 2009 — can make reservations from Oct. 18 to Nov. 12 to get shots from Nov. 1 to 27.
Minors can make a reservation on their own or an adult can do it for them and must have the consent of a parent or guardian.
“Although their rate of progressing into serious symptoms or death from Covid-19 is low, [children and adolescents] can still suffer from severe illness and sometimes develop complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome,” the task force said, “and if infected with Covid-19, they are seriously affected mentally and socially due to isolation, a decrease in educational opportunities and reduced confidence.”
Pregnant women will be able to reserve shots from Oct. 8. They will get inoculated from Oct. 18, with either Pfizer or Moderna shots.
The task force explained that pregnant women are at high risk of Covid-19 infection, and the rate of progression to critical illness is six times higher than that of non-pregnant women of the same age.
While saying pregnant women can make their own decisions on whether to receive the shots, the task force advised those with an underlying disease or in the early stages of pregnancy under 12 weeks to see a doctor to check the condition of the mother and fetus prior to inoculation.
Booster shots will also be rolled out next month starting with high-risk groups, including people over the age of 59, employees of hospitals and patients and employees at high-risk facilities who had the final dose six months earlier, or two months for patients with weakened immune systems.
They will either get Pfizer or Moderna shots.
The government also shortened the dosing schedule for Pfizer and Moderna to four to five weeks, which was extended to six weeks due to a series of delays in vaccine shipments over the summer.
Second dose appointments for Pfizer or Moderna jabs scheduled from Oct. 11 to Nov. 7 will be moved forward by one week to a five-week interval, while those scheduled from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14 will be moved forward by two weeks to a four-week interval. Individuals will be notified of the changes Tuesday.
With leftover Covid-19 vaccines from cancelled appointments — which can booked on Naver and Kakao or through waiting lists at medical facilities — people can book second shots three weeks after their first for Pfizer, and after four weeks for Moderna.
Meanwhile, the government has extended the reservation period for people aged 18 and over to Sept. 30.
As of Sunday midnight, 74.2 percent of the country’s population had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 45.3 percent had been fully vaccinated.
The country reported 2,383 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, with the total caseload increased to 303,553.
BY SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]