South Korea considers vaccinating workers against Covid-19 at major companies

The South Korean government is trying to ramp up its inoculation drive after a slow start.
The South Korean government is trying to ramp up its inoculation drive after a slow start.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea is considering plans to vaccinate workers at key businesses including chip and electronics firms to prevent disruptions to production, the government said on Thursday (June 10), amid global efforts to boost supply of scarce computer chips.

The Labour Ministry has sent letters to companies including Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and LG Electronics seeking information on their Covid-19 vaccination needs, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Wednesday (June 9), citing government and industry sources.

The KDCA and Labour Ministry said they were discussing such options with government agencies but that no specifics had been decided.

Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and LG Electronics said they had received the letter.

The move comes amid a global chip shortage that has affected manufacturers around the world, particularly carmakers.

Samsung and SK Hynix are the world's top two memory chipmakers.

The South Korean government is trying to ramp up its inoculation drive after a slow start.

One plan under consideration is to provide vaccines for workers at units that run non-stop, and for those deemed essential to the economy.

The government also said it planned to accelerate talks with other countries on opening travel bubbles.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said South Korea wanted to re-open travel with countries including Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Guam, allowing people to visit without needing to quarantine.

“Resuming international travel will mark the beginning of life going back to normal,” he said during a government meeting.

South Korea’s transport and culture ministries said they would only allow group tours for those who are fully vaccinated during the initial phase of any travel bubble.

The government plans to vaccinate 70 per cent of its 52 million population by the third quarter, starting with kindergarten and primary school teachers, with the aim of achieving herd immunity before November.

South Korea reported 602 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total tally to 145,692 infections, with 1,977 deaths.