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South Korea reaches 3 mil. inoculations; more than 12 mil. needed to see benefits Updated: 2021-04-30 15:15:59 KST

South Korea is right on schedule with COVID-19 vaccinations.
Health authorities announced on Friday that as of midnight, South Korea has hit the goal of inoculating 3 million people by the end of April.

"I think the reason we were able [to achieve this] by April is because more than 3 million people decided to take part out of love and consideration for themselves, their families and their neighbors."

But there's still a long way to go.
Some experts say that at least 12 million will need to be inoculated before the country starts to see a significant difference.

"Other countries didn't see a substantial decrease in infections until they had vaccinated roughly 20 to 30 percent of the population. So, South Korea might be able to take a breather when it hits its goal of inoculating 12 million people by June."

The country can expect a significant loss in critical patients and COVID-19 deaths after reaching 12 million.
But, there isn't expected to be too much difference in the social distancing measures.

"Most of the 12 million who will be inoculated will be senior citizens and core medical personnel - people who participate in limited economic activities. So for the economy to bounce back and for society to return to some sort of normalcy,12 million doesn't even come close."

The country continues to stay on high alert due to the rise in variant cases and experts projecting the number of daily cases to rise to over 800 in May.

"With 30 percent of the infection routes untraceable, infections will keep rising. The country needs to do more than extend the social distancing measures for three weeks. If not, it's inevitable that there'll be a rise in infections."

Experts say that, since it is unknown how effective vaccines are against variant cases, the most health authorities can do to curb any kind of spread is to bring down the proportion of untraceable cases through rigorous contact tracing.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News
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