Vaccine pass exemptions may expand, but not to pregnant women
While Korea contemplates expanding the types of people eligible for vaccine pass exemption, health authorities say pregnant women are not likely to be included.
The Central Disease Control Headquarters told reporters Tuesday that it would be difficult to recognize pregnant women as exceptions to the vaccine pass system as they are “at high-risk for Covid-19 and thus recommended for vaccination.”
Currently, the list of people who are exempted from the vaccine pass system includes: minors under 19; those who have been released from quarantine after contracting Covid-19; those whose second dose has been postponed or prohibited after experiencing a serious adverse event from the first dose; those who need to postpone vaccination due to a weakened immune system or who are taking immunosuppressants or anticancer drugs; and those who are prohibited from vaccination due to medical reasons.
These people don’t have to present a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test result to enter facilities requiring vaccine passes, such as restaurants, cafes and gyms, but they do need a doctor's note or official document proving they have recovered from Covid.
Following criticism that the scope of exemptions is too narrow, the government decided to review adding people who have Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare immune system disorder, and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, also known as CVST, to the list.
Despite voices calling for an inclusion of pregnant women in the vaccine pass exemptions, health authorities reiterated that pregnant women are at high risk of their condition deteriorating when catching Covid-19, and are thus advised to get vaccinated.
“As critical cases have been reported including the death of an unvaccinated pregnant woman, it is difficult to include pregnancy as a medical exception to vaccination,” explained Ko Jae-young, spokesperson for the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
According to Korea’s Covid-19 vaccination response task force, of all the pregnant women who have registered their due date, 30 have reported side effects after getting jabbed, most of them being rubefaction (reddening of the skin), pain and muscle aches.
The government plans to announce the revised list of vaccine pass exemptions in a briefing on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry announced it will provide up to 5 million won ($4,200) in medical fee assistance to children and teenagers suffering from Covid-19 side effects.
The ministry said Tuesday that it will provide the assistance to minors under 19 who experienced serious side effects within 90 days of inoculation but haven’t received compensation from the state. Applicants must have records of having paid at least 300,000 won for hospital fees after vaccination.
Once the minor excluded from national compensation or the guardian submits an application for medical support, including receipts showing hospital fees of more than 300,000 won, to the Korea Educational Environments Protection Agency, the actual medical expenses will be reimbursed up to 5 million won per person.
The project will last from this February until May next year, and the ministry will later decide whether to extend the period.
The ministry will also provide medical services for psychological stability in connection with psychiatrists for students who have caught or recovered from Covid-19, and implement a mental health expert school-visiting program for high risk students.
BY SEO JI-EUN [email@example.com]