South Korea has taken its first step towards approving the Pfizer vaccine for direct import, so it can receive the tens of millions of doses it's signed deals for.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety cited the first review done by local experts looking at research from other countries.
"The evaluation results show eight people from the vaccine group and 162 people from the control group were confirmed to have COVID-19, representing an effectiveness of about 95 percent.
The data itself is not new, but the Ministry will use it for the next step, which will be analysis by a ministry committee with results due as early as Friday.
Approval is not needed for the doses to be used starting this Saturday those were already approved for emergency import from the COVAX Facility.
The findings from overseas also say that Pfizer's vaccine should be safe even for minors as young as 16.
The ministry, in addition, has established a new, dedicated team of researchers to speed up the analysis of future vaccines.
And for the inoculations starting later this week, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency has released procedural guidelines for vaccination centers.
Vaccines are not to be given to pregnant women or minors under 18.
Also excluded are people suspected to have COVID-19.
This, the guidelines say, is to prevent confusion between COVID-19 symptoms and vaccine side effects and to protect others at the vaccination centers.
Doses will, however, be given to women who are breast feeding because there is no data showing a threat to the health of the baby.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.