To talk more about the emerging new variants of Covid-19 and vaccine contaminations, strategies and all the more, we have Dr. Alice Tan joining us live.
Dr. Tan, thanks for joining us.
South African scientists are monitoring a new coronavirus variant called C.1.2 which have popped up across the country and found in seven other countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. At this time, the C.1.2 does not appear to be rising in circulation and scientists have yet to determine whether the new variant is more contagious or able to overcome immunity provided by jabs. Do you think this new variant should be of concern?
Foreign substances were found in Moderna vaccine vials in Japan last week and the regions that reported vaccine contamination put temporary holds on shots following this discovery. Moderna vaccines that will be sent to South Korea early September are expected to be sent from the U.S. and Spain and reportedly are unaffected. Should we also be concerned about any possibility of contamination?
South Korean health authorities have newly added teens aged between 12 and 17 and pregnant women as targets to be vaccinated, as they aim to ramp up the percentage of vaccinated population to above 80 percent. The plan is to have 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated by October. Once 80 percent of adults and 90 percent of the elderly are fully vaccinated, they're planning to lift strict government measures on COVID. Will we be able to enter what's called the "with Corona" phase once this is achieved?
South Korea plans to begin giving out COVID-19 booster shots from October, joining several countries that have been rolling out booster shots already. The plan will kick in once an October target for full vaccination is achieved. One, how reliable will these booster shots be for the high-risk groups with weak immunity and the elderly and two, with many places around the world behind in rolling out vaccines, including South Korea, what is your long term outlook?
Dr. Tan, always a pleasure to hear your perspective and insights. Thank you.