South Korea has approved a corona vaccine for use for the first time. This is the vaccine from AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford. Unlike many European countries, the Asian country is going to use the drug for all ages.
While several corona vaccines have already received approval in the United States and Europe, other countries seem less rushed to start vaccinating the population against the coronavirus. One of those countries is South Korea.
Start vaccinating on February 26
A corona vaccine was approved there for the first time today. It concerns the AstraZeneca vaccine that will receive an emergency permit. For this, the company still has to submit the results of the full clinical trial. This was announced by South Korean Deputy Minister of Health Kim Gang-lip at a press conference.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) plans to start vaccinating on February 26 with an initial batch of around 1.5 million doses. These are produced in South Korea by SK bioscience, part of SK Chemicals. By July, the country hopes to have vaccinated the 10 million South Koreans at risk. Most of the population should have had a vaccine by November.
South Korea will therefore also give the AstraZeneca vaccine to the elderly for the time being. In the European Union, the drug was also approved for all adults, but many countries – including Belgium and Germany – decided not to use it for the elderly for the time being.
This is because only a few elderly people participated in the first clinical studies of AstraZeneca, making it difficult to know for sure whether the vaccine is effective for them. In April, AstraZeneca should have results from a new clinical trial in the United States involving 7,500 elderly people.
South Korea as a guide country
South Korea has been a guide country since the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The approach with the focus on contact tracing and massive testing ensured that the toll remained very limited. In total, 81,930 people in the country with 45 million inhabitants became infected with the corona virus. 1,486 South Koreans died from Covid-19.