South Korea announced on Thursday it will issue COVID-19 vaccine passports to inoculated citizens. They have joined other nations adopting such certificates to revive cross-border travel while keeping susceptibility to the virus under control.
South Korea's Vaccine Passport App
According to Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, a mobile application would enable international travelers to display digital evidence of vaccination. The app will be officially launched this April.
The move is amid the South Korean government's efforts to bolster people's participation in the public vaccine program. Chung stated during a daily interagency meeting on the government's novel coronavirus response, the citizens will be able to experience a semblance of a return to the old normal from a vaccine passport or green card systems, reported The Korea Herald.
According to the prime minister, their government has already created a system that displays the inoculation status of a person through a smartphone application. He expounded the system is based on blockchain technology to affirm security from probable identity theft, reported The Korea Times.
The introduction of vaccine passports has proved controversial in numerous countries. China and a few other nations have already adopted such certificates. The European Union has bowed to pressure from tourism-dependent southern countries to do such. However, other nations have faced stern opposition to the idea.
Chung stated systems in other nations also do not store personal data. This is while allowing the verifications of the statuses of immunization. Their app will make use of blockchain technology to alleviate the counterfeiting of credentials.
Since February 26, when the country launched its vaccination program, more than 850,000 people have been provided COVID-19 vaccine doses. South Korea is looking to inoculate 12 million people by June. The country's initiative is to achieve herd immunity by November.
South Korea on Thursday extended its vaccine dissemination. It commenced inoculations of the general public 75 years old and older with the vaccine jointly created by Pfizer and BioNTech. Over 86% of the 3.5 million people in such age group have remarked they plan to be administered the dose, reported Reuters.
The country recorded 551 new COVID-19 cases, a rise from 506 one day ago. South Korea's total confirmed coronavirus cases had reached 103,639 ,with 1,735 fatalities. According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), an estimated 877,000 initial doses of the vaccine had been received as of Wednesday.
According to health authorities, 876,573 people have been administered their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 12,973 have been fully vaccinated.
A panel of South Korean advisers deliberated that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective. This moves the single-dose shot one step closer to regulatory approval.
Upon approval, the Johngon&Johnson vaccine will be the third vaccine authorized in the country. This follows Pfizer/BioNTech's and AstraZeneca vaccines. South Korea has a negotiation to receive 6 million doses of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine and stated it would be ready for vaccination from the second quarter. The South Korean government will be paying the fourth "disaster subsidy" to self-employed individuals and small business owners.