South Korea is planning to start administrating COVID-19 vaccines in February next year. That's according to President Moon Jae-in during a weekly meeting with his top aides on Monday.
Moon brushed off concerns that the country hasn't been able to procure enough vaccines or that people will receive shots late. saying that preparations are going smoothly.
The government expects to start administering vaccines from February for those at the top of the priority list, such as medical staff and workers at elderly care facilities.
Health authorities on Monday said that South Korea has, so far, completed negotiations for enough vaccine doses for 36 million people.
The government plans to get vaccines through COVAX facility a global vaccine supply platform and from AstraZeneca in the first quarter of next year.
That will be followed by Janssen and Pfizer.
It is also working on a deal with Moderna.
And as some vaccines, like Pfizer, need to be stored at low temperatures, the government is also seeking to operate up to 250 separate vaccination centers equipped with cold-chain systems.
Health authorities say negotiations for more vaccine doses are ongoing in case of an emergency situation given the continuous spread of the virus and any concerns of disruptions in supply or distribution due to worldwide demand.
"The vaccines for 46 million people, which the government has currently purchased or is planning to buy, accounts for 88-percent of the population. And taking into consideration those who are eligible for the vaccines, it is over 100-percent. So, we consider it to be enough to achieve herd immunity."
The government has stressed that transparency is key, saying that it will unveil a detailed inoculation plan in January next year.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.