South Korea to start Covid-19 vaccination of pregnant women as part of push to inoculate 80% of adults by end of October

South Korea will open vaccination against Covid-19 for pregnant women this month as part of the national campaign to vaccinate 80% of its adult population by the end of October.

Starting from Friday morning, pregnant women can register online to receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine. The inoculations start on October 18.

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The drive is part of South Korea’s plan to vaccinate 80% of its adult population and 90% of people aged 60 and older by the end of this month.

“The vaccines are safe for pregnant women and can meaningfully decrease their risks of contracting Covid-19 and becoming critically ill,” the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) director Jeong Eun-kyeong said at a news briefing.

Apart from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the vaccines produced by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson are approved for use in the country.

Out of 731 pregnant women infected by the virus as of August 30, around 2% became severely ill, which is about six times higher than the infection rate for women aged 20-45, according to KDCA.

Around 63% of South Korea’s adults were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended vaccination against Covid-19 for everyone 12 years and older, including pregnant and breastfeeding women. The available data suggests that “the benefits of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy,” the CDC said.

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