SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea begins opening Covid-19 vaccine reservations for all adults over 18 for the first time on Monday (Aug 9) as it scrambles to stave off a rise in sporadic outbreaks, many of them among young, unvaccinated residents.
South Korea was praised for its handling of the virus in the beginning of the pandemic with thorough tracing and testing, but a slow vaccination uptake has overlapped with a surge in more transmissible variants.
Some 45 per cent of South Korea's 52 million population have had at least one dose of the vaccine, while just 15 per cent have been fully vaccinated as at Sunday midnight.
The country aims to immunise over 70 per cent of adults by September as it vaccinates those in the 18 to 49 age bracket with Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech's products.
Inoculation for the age group is due to start on Aug 26 and is scheduled to run until Sept 30.
South Korea's death rate stands at 1 per cent as at Sunday, while the number of serious cases that require ventilators continues to rise, with 367 cases currently rated severe.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 1,492 new coronavirus cases for Sunday.
Total infections stand at 212,448, with 2,125 deaths since the start of the pandemic.