NOW on the local front VACCINATION EFFORTS for the SECOND HALF of the year are ON TRACK with CROSS-INOCULATIONS on the AGENDA for THOSE who RECEIVED a FIRST DOSE of AstraZeneca.
For more I have Kim Do-yeon here in the studio.
Welcome Do-yeon .
So people who got an AstraZeneca shotFIRST are NOW up for a Pfizer shot as their SECOND DOSE?
Sunhee, that's right.
Age restrictions for AstraZeneca vaccines have gone through many changes over the past few months due to safety concerns.
The latest, which came into effect last week, makes the vaccine available only to people OVER 50.
But by now, many of those UNDER 50 have already gotten AstraZeneca vaccines for their first dose, and health authorities have approved the use of Pfizer vaccines to be administered as second jabs for these individuals.
Some 950-thousand people are eligible for cross-vaccinations, otherwise knowns as "mix-and-match" shots.
The government reassured the public that cross-vaccinations are safe, citing precedents in other countries, BUT it's not letting its guard down.
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"We will strengthen our monitoring of any adverse reactions to the mix-and-match shots by checking on the 10,000 people who are receiving them by communicating with them through text messages."
And what is the latest with regard to post-inoculation ADVERSE REACTIONS?
Sunhee, there were no new deaths with a causal link to the vaccines since the one they announced last week.
Coming up on the screen now is the rate of suspected adverse reactions reported for each type of vaccine.
Side effects were observed in zero.63 percent of all AstraZeneca vaccine recipients, followed by Moderna at zero.49 percent and Pfizer at zero.24 percent.
Adverse reactions were most prevalent among people in their thirties, and 95 percent of all cases involved common and mild post-inoculation symptoms.
Health experts did sound off a warning however, that the country may witness a growing number of reported side effects as it vaccinates a broader segment of its population in the third quarter.
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"I would like to bring your attention to the type of vaccine we are planning to use in the third quarter. From now on, we will mainly use mRNA vaccines, which as we mentioned on numerous occasions since the beginning of our inoculation drive, carry a higher risk of anaphylaxis compared to other vaccines."
Meanwhile I hear PREVENTION PROTOCOLS for those who have come into contact with an infected individual have been EASED for those fully vaccinated?
Sure Sunhee. Prior to Monday, even people who have been fully vaccinated had to take 3 PCR tests over a two-week span, if they come into a close-contact with an infected individual.
Now, that's been lowered to a single test after a week of contact.
Also, they will not be actively monitored by health authorities, and the individuals are only required to contact their local community health center if symptoms arise.
And what is the TESTING REQUIREMENT for FULLY VACCINATED people flying into Korea?
Sunhee, incoming travelers had to take 4 PCR tests when coming to Korea including one prior to departure.
But now, only two tests are required. Once within 72 hours before their flight, and once after a week of landing.
But, do keep in mind that entry restrictions will not be eased for passengers flying from countries with a serious outbreak of variant infections.
Also, anyone who does not take the required PCR tests will be required to spend two weeks in quarantine.
So, follow these guidelines TO THE LETTER.
ALSO Do-yeon I understand authorities are looking to acknowledge the INOCULATION STATUS of those who received one dose here in Korea and a second dose overseas?
Right Sunhee, the government is looking to strike an agreement with other countries and devise a system to verify the authenticity of vaccine certificates issued abroad.
The government says it will accept vaccine documentation from other countries based on the principle of RECIPROCITY.
Once a system is in place, it will open the door to many possibilities.
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"We will broaden our criteria on who should be categorized as being fully vaccinated, so that anyone who got his or her first dose in Korea, but received the second dose in another country will also be regarded as being fully vaccinated."
Thank you for that detailed coverage Do-yeon.