Hundreds of thousands of high school teachers and seniors in South Korea are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the annual college entrance exam that’s scheduled for November.
For more, we have our Kim Do-yeon standing by at a vaccination center in northern Seoul.
Do-yeon

Mark, I’m at a vaccination center in Nowon-gu District, and about an hour ago, high school seniors began filtering in to get their vaccines, which are the ones made by Pfizer.
Today, this center will be inoculating 640 seniors and teachers from two nearby high schools.
On a national scale, there are 650-thousand eligible recipients in this group.
The decision to let them get the vaccines first was made to ensure they can prepare to take the annual national college entrance exam in November.
This will be the second such test since the start of the pandemic, but this time around, it’s hoped the vaccines will ease worries over the safety of test takers.
More than 95 percent of those eligible have signed up to get the shot – which is not compulsory to take the test.
Take a listen to what some of the students and teachers told me earlier.

“This is a good opportunity as COVID-19 has restricted us from going to cram schools, but because the government is letting us get the vaccines first, I can go and study harder.”

” As we are vaccinated, we can start going to study at cafes and libraries more freely and with less concern. I think I’ll study harder. We were limited in our ability to study with friends, but now we can ask each other questions and study in a more comfortable setting.”

“As we are aiming for the full opening of schools in the second semester, for a safer learning environment, I thought, it shouldn’t only be the high school seniors, but the teachers as well.”

Okay, it seems like they are eager to get the vaccine in light of this make-or-break exam.
Now, what about the nation’s overall inoculation drive? We hear more people will be able to sign up

Mark, that’s right, the inoculation drive in South Korea continues at a steady pace.
Behind me are not just high school students and teachers, but other eligible groups as well.
In fact, the center has 11-hundred doses for today and more than 400 are for other groups like the military or those awaiting a second dose.
So far, more than 31 percent of the nation have received at least a first dose.
Next up for reservations are 50 to 54 year olds who can start to make their reservations now, taking turns by their age until July 24th.
Mark

Reporter : tkim@arirang.com

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