AstraZeneca vaccines will be rolled out to care facility residents and staff aged 65 or over starting as early as next week, while the government has begun discussing the introduction of the so-called “vaccine leave.”
The COVID 19 vaccination team announced on Thursday that it would authorize the use of AstraZeneca vaccines for the elderly. “The United Kingdom has released data that proves the effectiveness of AstraZeneca vaccines in the elderly,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun at Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters’ meeting. About 376,000 people over 65 at care facilities will start receiving the vaccine by the end of March. The government has already secured enough vaccines, meaning the program can begin next week if consent is given. The vaccines will be rolled out to roughly 8.5 million people in the age group who are not in care homes in April.
The first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines for 785,000 people arrived in February, while the second batch for 345,000 people (COVAX Facility) is expected to arrive in late March and the third for 350,000 between the last week of May or June. The authorities have decided to have 10 to 12 weeks between the first and second doses, an increase from eight to 12 weeks, given the supply of vaccines and a recent study of the World Health Organization that shows a delayed interval between the first and second doses results in higher efficacy. They are also reviewing the introduction of one- or two-day leave considering the side effects of vaccines such as fever and muscle pain.
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