South Korean minors aged 12-17 and expectant women will be included in the country’s inoculation drive, Seoul’s vaccination advisory committee has announced. Booster shots will also be available to its elderly citizens.

On Monday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) unveiled its list of eligible recipients for Covid-19 vaccination in its bid to increase vaccination coverage in the country.

From October 18 onwards, 2.77 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 will be able to come forward and get vaccinated using the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech shot. The director of the KDCA, Jeong Eun-kyeong, said that while the benefits of inoculation in children outweighs the risk of Covid, the parents of healthy youths will be able to decide themselves if they would like their kids to be jabbed.

Pregnant women will also be eligible for inoculation on a voluntary basis from next month. However, authorities recommend that women with underlying health issues, as well as those in their first trimester, should decide whether to get inoculated after consulting with their doctor.

High risk groups, including the elderly population over 75 and healthcare workers, will be able to receive a booster shot of Pfizer’s jab.

The expansion of the rollout comes as South Korea aims to vaccinate 80% of its adult population by the end of October to achieve herd immunity from November onwards. So far, almost 75% of its 52 million population have had at least one dose of a vaccine, while 45% are fully vaccinated.

Nearby China, however, recently reported that it has fully vaccinated over one billion of its citizens against Covid-19. State media also claimed that 91% of its youth aged 12 to 17 were double jabbed against the virus. 

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, South Korea has registered over 303,000 cases and 2,456 deaths.

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