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Shift in COVID-19 protocol aimed at coexistence possible in Oct. Updated: 2021-09-07 17:05:25 KST

The success or failure of South Korea's disease control efforts will determine whether it can shift its protocol to one more tailored to the coexistence with COVID-19 a step toward returning to daily life.
That's according to local health authorities who have sped up the country's vaccination campaign as the traditional Chuseok holiday approaches.
Up until now, around 60-percent of the country's population have received their first dose further boosting the government's goal of inoculating 70-percent of the population before Chuseok, which is less than two weeks from now.
Amid the fourth wave, the government has extended the toughened social distancing levels for four more weeks until October 3rd.
At the same time it eased restrictions on private gatherings for people who have been fully vaccinated.
For more, Dr. Alice Tan joins us.

Gatherings of up to eight family members during Chuseok are permitted on the condition that at least four people are fully vaccinated in that group.
This is a sharp U-turn compared to Korea's previous measures during Chuseok last year and the traditional holiday Seol earlier this year, in which it told people to refrain from gathering.
Do you think there's going to be a surge in cases after Chuseok?

The latest poll by Realmeter shows almost 70-percent of people in South Korea want the country to shift its COVID-19 response strategy to the coexistence of the novel virus in our daily lives but in November.
And KDCA chief Jeong Eun-kyeong today said the country will be ready to start adopting the shift in protocol starting at the end of October.
When do you think it's appropriate, what are the major changes under the new protocol and how will it impact hospitals treating COVID-19?

South Korea has confirmed the country's first cases of the 'Mu' variant last week a variant first identified in Colombia.
The World Health Organization said the variant has been detected in 39 countries so far, labeling it a "variant of concern."
Can you tell us more about the Mu variant, is it more lethal than the other strains?

South Korean health authorities said some 140 people last week had mistakenly received expired Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines or some doses that were close to their expiration date.
So it's considering whether to vaccinate the recipients again since many of the recipients were receiving their first COVID shot.
What is your recommendation, what's the precedent in such cases in other countries?

South Korea is considering offering m-RNA vaccines as booster shots during the November to December period after analyzing clinical data and guidelines coming from the U.S. and U.K.
Do you recommend everyone who's been fully vaccinated to get the shots?

Alright. Dr. Alice Tan thank you for sharing your insights. We appreciate it.
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