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South Korea approves Pfizer’s COVID vaccine at ages 5-11

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South Korean health authorities have approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years. It expands the country’s immune system in the face of the outbreak of large-scale omicrons that promote hospitalization and death.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported a record 171,452 new viral cases on Wednesday. This is almost a 40-fold increase from mid-January levels when Omicron first emerged as the country’s dominant strain. The 99 new deaths were the highest daily aggregate since December 31, when the country was working on a delta-led surge that buckled the hospital system.

From about 200 people in mid-February, more than 500 virus patients are currently in serious or critical condition.

In a long-awaited announcement, the Ministry of Food and Drugs said it approved the Pfizer vaccine as the first shot in the country to be used for children aged 5 to 11 years. KDCA marches on vaccine deployment plans for this age group.

Pfizer Shot is already used in children aged 5 to 11 years in more than 60 countries, including the United States and the European Union, MDFS said in a press release. He added that the vaccine would help protect infants from infectious diseases and serious illnesses in South Korea’s rapidly developing Omicron surge.

Teens and young children have seen an increase in infections in recent weeks as schools prepare for the new semester in March, according to KDCA data.

The country had previously approved vaccinations for people over the age of 12. As of Wednesday, 86.4% of South Korea’s more than 51 million people have been vaccinated and nearly 60% have been boosted.

South Korea was considered an early success story of a pandemic after it contained infections and hospitalizations more effectively than most western countries. Health authorities worked closely with biotechnology companies to enhance laboratory testing, actively mobilize technical tools and civil servants to track contacts and conduct quarantine.

In a way that effectively allows the spread of the virus among a wider population, while concentrating medical resources to protect high-risk groups, including people over the age of 60 and those with pre-existing medical conditions. It has been forced to reshape the pandemic response.

Authorities have significantly relaxed quarantine restrictions and reduced contact tracing, but now more than 520,000 people with mild or moderate symptoms are being treated at home to save hospital space. increase. The country is also restructuring its testing policy around the rapid antigen test kit to save primarily priority group testing, despite concerns about the accuracy and trends of false-negative results. ..

Many Koreans are wary of a bendable but unbreakable approach as the country continues to report some of the highest daily infections in the world.

Authorities appear to have limited political capacity to strengthen social distance prior to the March presidential election. Despite the widespread outbreak, authorities extended the restaurant’s meal time from one hour to 10 pm last week for financial reasons, but so far for a personal get-together. We have a limit of 6 people.

“It’s important to survive the virus epidemic while minimizing serious illness and death,” Health Department official Son Young-le said at the briefing. He said the capacity of the COVID-19 hospital in South Korea has expanded since the delta wave and can now handle about 2,000 patients with serious illness.

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