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Asia Minute: South Korea and Israel Swap Vaccine Doses

AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool

South Korea is getting 700,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this week in an unusual deal with Israel.

The doses expire at the end of this month and South Korean leaders have agreed to swap the shots for Pfizer vaccines that they are scheduled to receive this fall.

South Korea can use the help right now, especially in the Seoul area.

On Tuesday, the country confirmed more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time since January 3.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says nearly 90% of the new cases were from the greater Seoul area.

The Yonhap news agency reports a rising share of those new cases are among people in their 20s and 30s.

Many of the new doses will be headed for workers in public-facing positions vulnerable to the virus, including transportation workers and street cleaners.

Daycare workers and kindergarten and elementary school teachers are also high on the list. The details of distribution are up to each local government.

South Korea’s Health Minister says the Delta variant of the virus remains a specific concern—adding that the number of those cases are doubling every week.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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