Thu. Aug 5th, 2021

A vial of the Pfizer vaccine versus the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) is viewed as medical personnel are immunized at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel December 19, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File PhotoSEOUL/JERUSALEM, July 6 (Reuters) – South Korea said it will receive 700,000 dosages of Pfizer-BioNTechs (PFE.N) coronavirus vaccine from Israel on loan today, in an attempt to accelerate immunisation following a surge in infections around the capital Seoul.More than 1,000 COVID-19 cases were reported as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the highest because December and hundreds more than the 746 cases published on Monday, Yonhap news company reported, citing South Korean federal government health officials.Under the vaccine swap plan announced by both federal governments on Tuesday, South Korea will give Israel back the exact same number of shots, currently on order from Pfizer, in September and October.South Korea has quickly distributed the COVID-19 vaccines it has, but has struggled to obtain adequate doses in a prompt way as worldwide supplies are tight, especially in Asia.Briefing reporters in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the vaccines were being filled aboard an airplane within hours of the deals statement on Tuesday, which South Korean officials would confirm their practicality.”This is a win-win offer,” he said in an earlier statement. “Together we will beat the pandemic.”After a stellar roll-out, Israel has actually administered both shots to around 55% of its population and turnout has plateaued.Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) Director Jeong Eun-kyeong stated the deal would permit South Korea to accelerate its vaccination plans, including supplying shots to workers in some sectors that have a high quantity of contact with other people.Local authorities will decide who gets the vaccines, but she stated priority might be offered to individuals such as street cleaners, shipment employees and retail employees.South Korean authorities stated last week they were intending to achieve herd immunity earlier than the existing November target by inoculating a minimum of 70% of the population with a minimum of one vaccine dosage, mainly mRNA vaccines such as Pfizers. Jeong stated that if the vaccination drive goes according to strategy, and South Korea discovers itself with surplus doses later in the year after returning the agreed dosages to Israel, it too would look to share its stockpile with other countries.South Korea has been battling persistent little break outs, triggering authorities to postpone some easing of social distancing rules.Reporting by Josh Smith and Dan Williams; Editing by Kim Coghill, Simon Cameron-Moore and Timothy HeritageOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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