Ministry of Interior and Safety to operate 250 national centers for administering COVID-19 vaccines

한겨레 입력 2021. 1. 22. 18:26
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Centers designed to handle Pfizer-Moderna vaccines due to their strict storage conditions
A patient gets vaccinated in Oslo, Norway, on Jan. 18. (EPA/Yonhap News)

In the daily briefing on Jan. 21, held online, South Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) said it would designate and operate 250 centers around the country for administering the COVID-19 vaccines that will begin to arrive in early February.

These centers are designed to handle inoculation of the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which are difficult to transport and store because they must be kept at an extremely low temperature.

MOIS’ plan is to set up at least one vaccination center in each of Korea’s 226 basic administrative areas (cities, counties, and metropolitan districts), with additional centers allowed in areas with a population above 500,000. Areas that lack the space or personnel needed for a vaccination center will also be allowed to share a center with a neighboring area.

“The timeline for beginning vaccination has been pushed forward from late February to early February. Given the likelihood that the first doses will arrive before the Lunar New Year, we’re hurrying to designate vaccination centers and medical institutions to administer the vaccine,” said Park Jong-hyeon, MOIS’ safety and communications officer.

Sports stadiums, concert halls and cultural centers around the country are likely to be chosen as vaccination centers, with the final selections expected to come early next week.

Vaccines that can be stored at room temperature, such as those developed by AstraZeneca and Janssen, will be administered at 10,000 of the 20,000 hospitals that are currently designated for administering flu shots.

By Park Tae-woo, staff reporter

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