Status on Vaccines in Korea
Q: If I’m an American in Korea, can I go to the U.S. embassy for my vaccine?
A: No. Here’s why.
Q: So when can I get the vaccine?
A: Foreigners who are enrolled in the national health insurance program in South Korea will be able to access free vaccine shots for Covid-19 starting in July 2021. All adults (citizens and foreigners) aged 18-64 who have health insurance will receive their shots.
Q: Can I choose the type of vaccine I get? I’m picky.
A: No. But if you want to try to time the system, here’s an estimate of which shots will be administered and when. For example, if you want to avoid Astra Zeneca, you may want to wait until September.
Q: When will Korea achieve herd immunity?
Q: Who’s been getting shots so far?
A: South Korea started vaccinating healthcare workers starting at the end of February. According to its schedule, those over the age of 65 are being inoculated now.
Q: Why so slow?
A: South Korea has had to be a buyer of vaccines. It has not developed any on its own. Countries who have made their own vaccines are choosing to use most of their supplies on their own populations first. Creating a vaccine is incredibly difficult and this case again supports the view that Korea would rather license intellectual property and implement the fast follower business plan. License deals have been struck so expect to see local production ramp up.