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S.Korea to begin using Pfizer coronavirus vaccines on Feb. 27, PM says

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Josh Smith
·1 min read
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By Josh Smith

SEOUL, Feb 21 (Reuters) - South Korea will beginadministering the first of 117,000 doses of Pfizer'scoronavirus vaccine on Feb. 27, a day after the country beginsits first vaccinations with AstraZeneca's products, the primeminister announced on Sunday.

Plans call for about 10 million high-risk people, includinghealth care workers and staffers and some residents of assistedcare facilities and nursing homes, to be inoculated by July.

The first AstraZeneca vaccines are scheduled to beadministered on Friday, with Pfizer's shots being deployed thenext day, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in remarks reportedby Yonhap news agency.

"On Feb. 26, 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines will arrive inthe country and the vaccines will be administered to medicalstaff treating coronavirus patients starting on Feb. 27," Chungtold a government meeting, according to Yonhap.

The authorities have said they will not use AstraZenecavaccine on people aged 65 and older until more efficacy databecomes available, reversing an earlier decision.

Aside from AstraZeneca and Pfizer, South Korea has alsoreached agreements with Moderna, Novavax Inc, Johnson & Johnson,and global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, for the supply of theirvaccines.

Chung announced last week that South Korea had struckadditional deals with Novavax Inc for enough vaccines to cover20 million people and with Pfizer to cover a further 3 million,making the total supply enough to cover 79 million people,though South Korea has a population of 52 million.

The government says its goal is to reach herd immunity byNovember, though leading South Korean medical experts have saidthat timetable will be practically impossible to achieve.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 416more COVID-19 cases as of midnight Saturday, raising the totalto 86,992.(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)