Seoul, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- South Korea announced Thursday the approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 65 years of age.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), which announced the decision at a press conference, had initially excluded this age group pending further data on its efficacy for the elderly.
The decision comes after analyzing data obtained in England and Scotland showing a more than 80 percent reduction in hospitalizations of people over 80 years of age after receiving the first of two doses.
South Korea thus joins other European countries that, given the scarcity of initial data on its effectiveness in older people, first postponed its use and then approved it after considering new information.
It is estimated that some 376,000 healthcare workers and the elderly in nursing and rehabilitation centers will be vaccinated before the end of March.
South Korea has so far received shipments of vaccines developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech, and has also signed agreements with pharmaceutical companies such as Moderna and Novavax.
The Asian country, one of those that has best managed its epidemic, expects to have 70 percent of the population inoculated by September and to achieve herd immunity by November, although the problems in the global supply of vaccine put those deadlines in doubt.
Since the start of the pandemic, South Korea has recorded just over 94,000 infections (including more than 7,000 imported cases) and 1,652 deaths from Covid-19. EFE-EPA