Seventh day into South Korea's mass vaccination campaign, healthcare workers at larger, research hospitals began receiving AstraZeneca vaccines. Starting with the Seoul National University hospital but also including Soonchunhyang University hospital.
We've inoculated close to 50 percent of the first priority group assigned to the AstraZeneca vaccine, but also have reported a total of five post-inoculation deaths.
Health authorities have clarified that no link has been established between the deaths and the vaccines.
But the public's concern over the effectiveness and safety of the coronavirus vaccine, particularly AstraZeneca's continues to linger even discouraging people in some cases of getting the jab.
South Korea's and the world's battle against the coronavirus amid safety concerns over vaccines: it's the topic of our News In-depth tonight with Dr. David Kwak, Physician at Soonchunhyang University Hospital.
Dr. Kwak was one of those medical workers at the Soonchunhyang University Hospital in line to get shot today.
Dr. Kwak, a few hours later now you just got that shot. How are you feeling? What are the side effects?
What was the real-life scene like? What have you observed the overall sentiment to be?
As we move forward with vaccinations, there appears to be quite a bit of mistrust developing among the public especially in AstraZeneca's? What do you have to say?
Post-inoculation deaths have been reported in other countries that have had a head start with the vaccination rollouts more than 400 deaths in the UK, at least 110 in Germany
These post-inoculation deaths have been reported mainly among those with underlying preexisting health conditions
We have a total of 5 deaths that have occurred after inoculation of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine. But just to be clear these deaths were not CAUSED by the vaccine?
Perhaps a lot of the wary is because everything is a lot closer to home now we're not just hearing reports from other countries another element is reported suspected cases of anaphylactoid reaction.
I understand this has similar symptoms to anaphylaxis
And health authorities said, again, there is a lack of causal relationship between this reaction and the vaccinations but what is this adverse reaction?
One of the 5 deaths that were reported was different because the fifth person was a female in her 20's. She had been admitted to a nursing hospital for the severely disabled how does disability play into the equation of vaccine risks?
Were there enough case studies done across all the COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities?
When Public Health England revealed their real-world studying showing the efficacy of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines among the elderly, they highlighted that even a single dose was more than 80 percent effective around 3 to 4 weeks after the jab.
It seems just like the virus itself, there's a certain period of time that we need to watch for the effects of the vaccine. We are not a full week into the vaccination program here in South Korea what is the time frame we need to watch for further side effects especially with the first group of those being vaccinated being of the high-risk group?
Today, a Blue house spokesperson said President Moon Jae-in plans to "willingly" get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shot This was in terms of preparing for an in-person G7 summit scheduled for June.
Now, in order for President Moon to receive both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine ahead of the meeting, when would he have to get his first shot?
Currently, AstraZeneca vaccine's use for people aged 65 and older is still under review are there any concerns, considering that he is over the age of 65 (68 years old)?
In terms of receiving vaccination shipments, we're a few days ahead of schedule vaccinations at major general hospitals wasn't due to happen until next week.
But it's difficult to ignore the overall hesitation we're sensing among the people
Beyond words of affirmation from the government and health authorities, what do you think needs to be done so that we can all actively participate in reaching the government's goal of herd immunity in South Korea by November?
How will this vaccination last? Will it be similar to the flu shot? Will we need to take another one next year? Will we need to get one repeatedly?
Dr. David Kwak of Soonchunhyang University Hospital, many thanks for your insights. We appreciate it.