Health

How to Easily Access Leftover Vaccines: South Korea’s Efficient COVID-19 Response

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, different societies and cultures from all over the world became compelled to singularly adapt to a new kind of normalcy. The social habits and routines we once knew were replaced by new safety practices such as social distancing and self-isolation. People that were finding homes for rent in Seoul, Korea have been more careful and cautious because of this global pandemic. We were all tasked with prioritizing our health to also protect those who were around us.

Though these changes seemed like a huge undertaking at first, we proved how resilient we are as humans. Towards the end of 2020, with the strong determination and perseverance of scientists all over the world searching for a vaccine, we finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel. Today, almost half of the global population has already been fully vaccinated. Though we still have a long way to go, the motivation to go back to normalcy is what keeps us going.

South Korea’s Efforts for Vaccination

In South Korea, almost 80% of the population has already been vaccinated. But of course, the country’s quest to bring back the normal lives of its citizens does not end there. The quest to fully vaccinate everyone has always been the goal of every great nation such as South Korea. Currently, for those who remain unvaccinated, Korean authorities announced the availability of leftover vaccines which would be made available online.

Anyone interested may now sign up and receive alerts regarding the vaccinations in neighborhood clinics and hospitals. Korea does not plan to let any vaccine go to waste as these were originally meant for other people who failed to show up to their appointments. Previously, those who wished to be put on a waiting list for leftover shots needed to make a phone call or visit medical institutions. Today the process is made easier through online applications.

The Online Process

If you’re someone who wishes to check the availability of leftover vaccines around your area, you may check through Naver or Kakao and make a reservation within the same day. People will also be notified regarding the availability status of vaccines within a medical institution. This includes foreigners over 30 years old who are covered by Korean Health Insurance and own an alien registration card.

However, those who have already been vaccinated, or made a reservation through the existing Korean vaccination system would not be eligible. People who were born after January 1st, 1992 are also exempted from AstraZeneca vaccinations.

Simply search “left-over vaccine” in Korean on Naver’s website, application, or map application. If you want to use KakaoTalk, you may try clicking the “left-over vaccine” page on the (#) tab which is typically found at the bottom of the screen. Making a reservation is as simple as clicking the “reservation” button after selecting the medical institution of your choice and going through identity verification.

Commissioner of KDCA (Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency), Jeong Eun-Kyeong, hopes that this new system would encourage more people to participate in the country’s efforts to increase the vaccination rate and stop the further spread of the virus. According to the commissioner, he believes that “Vaccination can greatly reduce both the possibility of COVID-19 infection and the risk of death”.

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