Health care workers wait to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine shot at a hospital in the Gangseo District in Seoul on April 19, 2021. (Photo: Yonhap News)
South Korea extended COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to more health care workers on Monday along with airline crews as it seeks to speed up its mass vaccination program.
According to the government, health care workers for the disabled, seniors and veterans as well as flight attendants will be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, those who are under the age of 30 will not be exempt from this round as the Korea Disease Control and Prevention determined last week that the benefits of the AZ jab "do not outweigh the risks for that age group."
Experts are still looking into the vaccine and rare but serious blood clot issues.
Starting next Monday, personnel at medical clinics, pharmacists, and dialysis patients will be able to get their first shot.
Health authorities are also pushing to start vaccinations for police, firefighters, and Coast Guard officials over the age of 30 by the end of the month, which would be more than a month ahead of schedule.
More than 1.5 million people in South Korea have received their first dose of a vaccine, or around 3 percent of the total population of 52 million, according to officials.
Over 60,500 people have been fully vaccinated.
The government said it aims to immunize at least 12 million people by June and reach herd immunity against COVID-19 in November.
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