RIGHT then here on the local front.
We are entering DAY FIVE of our INOCULATION DRIVE and for MORE on RELATED EFFORTS I have our Eum Ji-young here in the studio.
Ji-young do start with the LATEST on our vaccine rollout.
At AROUND 9 AM last Friday, Korea began administering the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca.
Residents and staff at long-term care facilities were the first in line, but they had to be under the age of 65.
Just 24 hours later, at 9 AM Saturday, the first jabs from Pfizer were handed out to front-line medical workers.
Around 289-thousand people in phase 1 priority groups have given their consent to be vaccinated, which is around 94 percent of those eligible.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency,… one,four-hundred forty two additional people received their shots on Monday,… bringing the total to more than 23-thousand. Among them, more than 22-thousand received the AstraZeneca vaccine and 895 got Pfizer's jab.
The government says, a total of 156 of those who have been vaccinated reported mild reactions including a slight fever and muscle pain, but none of the symptoms have been severe. Let's take a listen to what KDCA chief Jeong Eun-kyeong had to say about this on Monday.
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"All of the reported side effects were symptoms that commonly occur when the body is generating immunity. Most of them disappear within three days and do not require treatment."
One of the most feared side effects of vaccinations, in general, is a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can trigger breathing difficulties and send the body into shock.
Anaphylaxis usually occurs within 30 minutes of the vaccine being administrated and thus, people have been advised to stay for half-an-hour after getting their shots before heading back home.
In case of any emergencies, first aid and CPR can be administered at the vaccination centers and ambulances will be on stand-by.
Meanwhile I hear healthcare workers were able to SQUEEZE MORE doses from each vial of vaccine?
Right, Sunhee. By using a special device called 'Low Dead Space syringes', they were able to increase the number of doses obtained from a single vial.
Compared to standard needles, LDS syringes have less space between the needle and the plunger to minimize waste.
When using a conventional syringe, a vial of AstraZeneca can yield 10 doses, while six doses can be extracted from a vial of Pfizer's vaccine.
But, by utilizing LDS needles, some medical staff were able to obtain up to seven doses from Pfizer bottles, and 12 from AstraZeneca's.
But health authorities say how many vaccines are extracted from each vial, will be left to the discretion of vaccination workers, and they will not be pressured into obtaining the highest number of doses from their supply of vaccines. Take a listen.
"It does not mean we will give specific instructions on the number of doses that must be extracted from one vial. It just means we will try to reduce waste and make use of leftover vaccines."
However, she added that it is not allowed to mix the residuals in different bottles as they can get contaminated.
Also researchers are poised to conduct studies on those who have been vaccinated?
Yes Sun-hee, that's right. Health authorities will be conducting tests on about 200 people starting this month, who have been inoculated with AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines.
They will study the rate of antibodies, as well as the duration of immunity.
Second and third clinical trials of AstraZeneca's vaccine indicated that the vaccine provides about 62 to 70 percent of protection.
For Pfizer's vaccine, it is about 95 percent.
It takes around a week or two after inoculation, for antibodies to form.
The government plans to finish administering the first doses for phase 1 priority groups by the end of this month.
Also, the government is sticking to its primary goal of achieving herd immunity by November, by administering the first dose on 70 percent of the country's population.
Thank you for that update Ji-young.
Thank you for having me.