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South Koreans no longer need masks outdoors if vaccinated against COVID-19

The move is a bid to encourage older residents to get vaccinated as South Korea aims to immunise at least 70% of its 52 million people by September, from just 7% now.

May 26, 2021 / 11:30 AM IST
South Korea on Wednesday said masks will no longer be required outdoors from July for those vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.

South Korea on Wednesday said masks will no longer be required outdoors from July for those vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.

South Korea on Wednesday said masks will no longer be required outdoors from July for those vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.

The move is a bid to encourage older residents to get vaccinated as South Korea aims to immunise at least 70% of its 52 million people by September, from just 7% now.

People given at least one dose also will be allowed to gather in larger numbers starting June, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told a coronavirus response meeting on Wednesday.

He said all quarantine measures would be adjusted once more than 70% of residents had received their first dose.

South Korea will begin vaccinating the general public aged between 65 and 74 from Thursday in over 12,000 clinics.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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South Korea reported 707 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total tally to 137,682 infections, with 1,940 deaths.
Reuters
first published: May 26, 2021 11:26 am

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