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KDCA chief says S. Korea can start easing prevention measures once 80% of adults are fully vaccinated Updated: 2021-09-08 17:03:25 KST

South Korea's top health official on Tuesday said the nation will be ready to ease social distancing measures in daily life as early as the end of next month.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, the chief of the KDCA said this would only be possible if 80 percent of all adults, and 90 percent of the elderly are fully vaccinated.

So far, the country has fully vaccinated more than 42 percent of all adults.
If South Korea continues rolling out vaccines at its current pace, it will be able to administer at least one jab to 70 percent of the population before the Chuseok holiday, set to begin on September 20th.
Vaccine supply won't be a problem either, as more than 3.4 million doses of Pfizer have arrived on Wednesday morning.
Almost a million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that authorities secured from Romania also arrived in the afternoon.

Originally, the country had said fully inoculating 70 percent of the population would be enough to reach herd immunity meaning the end of the pandemic.
But authorities have changed their stance and said South Korea will have to learn how to live with COVID-19 because even the vaccinated can still catch the virus.

They added that current distancing measures will have to remain for some time, and then be gradually eased.
Some health experts told Arirang that they agreed.

"Before we thought we could live with COVID-19 with high vaccination rates. But now, in order to manage the pandemic we have to not only have high vaccination rates but also maintain some prevention measures."

"To ease the difficulties or fatigue felt by small business owners and citizens, authorities could first lift limits on operating hours or on social gathering caps. But we can't take off our masks immediately because the Delta variant causes breakthrough infections among the vaccinated."

The health authorities are aiming to disclose a step-by-step plan by early November after reviewing overseas cases and expert advice.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.
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