A person receives a coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Gwanak District, Seoul, Saturday. Yonhap
By Lee Hyo-jin
The percentage of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 here, which topped 70 percent Saturday, is the 10th-highest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
As of 2 p.m., Saturday, over 35.94 million ― or 70 percent ― of the country’s population of 51.35 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The 70-percent rate was achieved 240 days after the government kicked off its nationwide inoculation drive Feb. 26.
According to Our World in Data, of the 38 OECD countries, Korea’s percentage of fully vaccinated ranked 10th, higher than those of Japan, the United States and France. Portugal came in first at 86.82 percent, followed by Iceland (81.04 percent), Spain (79.58 percent), Chile (75.75 percent), Denmark (75.73 percent), Ireland (74.97 percent), Canada (73.49 percent), Belgium (73.24 percent) and Italy (70.75 percent).
Such an achievement is notable, as Korea’s inoculation rate had fallen behind that of other countries due to supply shortages and shipment delays, amid the continuing global competition to secure vaccines.
Korea’s vaccination rate is higher than that of some countries that began their inoculation drives earlier, such as the United Kingdom (66.6 percent), France (67.5 percent), Israel (64.98 percent), Germany (65.53 percent) and the United States (56.55 percent).
It took Korea 240 days to reach the 70 percent benchmark, while it took 199 days for Iceland and 236 days for Portugal.
At this pace, the government expects the percentage of fully vaccinated to top 75 percent by the end of October.
“The high vaccination rate, which will become a foothold in the transition to the new normal, is attributable to public participation in the nationwide vaccination campaign,” said Jeon Hae-cheol, the minister of Interior and Safety, during a COVID-19 response meeting, Sunday.
“We will increase the rate to 80 percent as soon as possible through the smooth rollout of ongoing inoculations to children aged between 12 and 17, as well as to pregnant women.”Internet Explorer Channel Network