South Korean health authorities have decided to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people under the age of 60 due to its possible link to blood clots.
"We made this preemptive decision to put the safety of people receiving COVID-19 vaccines above all else," Jeong Eun-kyeong, the head of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said Wednesday.
The decision came as the European Medicines Agency was reviewing blood clotting cases associated with people who received the vaccine.
Jeong said local authorities and experts will hold in-depth discussions based on the European regulator's findings and respond swiftly to the issue.
The disruption has prompted concerns about whether the country will be able to reach its goal of herd immunity by November.
Special education instructors and grade school teachers nationwide were scheduled to start receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine from Thursday, but that plan has been halted, as well as shots for workers at correctional facilities and centers for the disabled that was to begin on Friday.
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