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S. Korea's vaccination program to kick off on Feb. 26 while Pfizer's vaccine takes first steps toward full approval Updated: 2021-02-23 10:02:51 KST

South Korea is just days away from the start of its vaccination rollout.
On February 26th, the AstraZeneca jabs will be given to residents and workers of nursing homes and rehabilitation centers around the country.
As of now, only those under 65 years old will receive the AstraZeneca shots.
Nearly 290,000 people have signed up for the shots that's more than 93-percent of the eligible group removing concerns over people's reluctance to get the COVID-19 vaccines, at least for now.
The supply will be manufactured domestically by SK BioScience's factory in Andong in the southeast of the country.
The day after that on Saturday Pfizer's jabs will start to be given to frontline medical workers.
Around 55,000 are due to be inoculated using the supply received from the COVAX facility.
While Pfizer's vaccines are yet to be approved in South Korea, the country gave clearance for the special emergency import from the global vaccine-sharing scheme.
The government's first step towards approving "direct" imports of Pfizer's vaccines will be coming out in a few hours.
At around 3 PM on Tuesday, Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will announce the results of its review by experts.
While more steps are needed before the use of the Pfizer vaccines, the ministry has said final approval will be made by next week.
If all goes according to plan, South Korea is set to receive shots for 500,000 people from Pfizer by the end of March and enough for 3 million people in the second quarter.
In total, the country has agreed terms for enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine for 13 million people.
Using these along with other vaccines the country's goal is to achieve mass immunization by November.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.

Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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