|Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong speaks during a briefing at the agency office in Osong, North Chungcheong Province, Monday. Yonhap|
By Lee Hyo-jin
Korea’ s coronavirus vaccinations using AstraZeneca’s doses will continue as planned, as the health authorities did not identify any causal links between reported cases of blood clotting after inoculation and the vaccine.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had been under scrutiny following two cases of blood clots found in individuals who received their first shots, has no correlation with such symptoms.
The authorities confirmed that public vaccinations for the second quarter will roll out as planned without major adjustments to its initial scheme.
According to the KDCA, a vaccination committee consisting of medical experts and infectious disease specialists has thoroughly reviewed the correlation between blood clots and the vaccine, and it found no links between the vaccine and the blood clots detected in two people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Results of the autopsy of a 60-year-old patient at a nursing home who died after getting the shot revealed that she had blood clots. A man in his 20s who suffered from blood clots after receiving the vaccine was diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a rare type of brain clot.
The vaccination committee said in a statement, “Blood clotting is a relatively common symptom which can occur due to various factors including COVID-19 infection.” But it noted that a closer investigation is needed for rare cases of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) and CVST, which can be found in one in 1 million people.
Starting Tuesday, patients and workers aged 65 and older at nursing homes and long-term care facilities ― approximately 377,000 people ― will receive their first shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Administration of the vaccine on the elderly had initially been suspended due to a lack of data on safety among the age group.
Also, President Moon Jae-in, 68, and first lady Kim Jung-sook, 66, will be vaccinated in public the same day as a part of preparations for the G7 summit which will be held in Britain in June. The KDCA noted that they fall into the priority category as they plan to travel overseas on a diplomatic mission.
The presidential office said that Moon’s early inoculation is partially aimed at alleviating public anxiety over the vaccine.
Under the government’s plan, around 11.5 million people will be inoculated within the second quarter. The elderly population over the age 75 will be inoculated with Pfizer products. Vaccinations will be widely expanded to priority groups next in line including special education teachers, school nurses and social service workers such as the police and military.
Meanwhile, according to the KDCA, a total of 676,607 people have been vaccinated as of Monday. Among them, 619,100 people received their first shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 57,507 people got a shot of Pfizer vaccine.