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South Korea to Begin Vaccine Booster Campaign

By VOA News September 27, 2021

South Korea will soon offer COVID booster shots to people who are at high risk for contracting the virus, the prime minister said Sunday.

Kim Boo-kyum said health care workers and older people would be among the groups considered high risk. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency is expected to announce plans for the booster campaign Monday.

The booster program is prompted by a jump in COVID cases following a recent Korean holiday, Chuseok, a three day fall harvest festival. In recent weeks, people who had not been fully vaccinated accounted for more than 85% of new cases, the prime minister said, according to the New York Times.

A fourth member of the Brazilian delegation to the UN General Assembly has tested positive for COVID. Pedro Guimaraes said Sunday he is fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and has been in quarantine since Wednesday.

U.S. retailers are scrambling to find workers as the holiday shopping season approaches. According to a report in the Financial Times, "the shortage of people willing to work in stores and warehouses is particularly acute," with 1.1 million unfilled retail jobs in July. The newspaper reports increased wages are just one-way employers are trying to entice people back into the work force. Some companies are offering financial assistance with college tuition and gym memberships.

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Face the Nation, the CBS television news program Sunday that children should be able to do Halloween trick-or-treating this year, "If you are able to be outdoors."

Rochelle Walensky, also cautioned that because of the pandemic, "I wouldn't necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups."

Halloween is celebrated each year in the U.S. on the last day of October. Children dress in costumes and go house-to-house, asking for candy and other treats.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tweeted "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it." to people taking ivermectin, a livestock anti- parasitic drug that was erroneously being promoted as a COVID treatment. Not everyone apparently got the message. The Financial Times says the FDA has received 49 reports of poisoning and other serious reactions linked to human consumption of ivermectin to treat Covid so far this year. That is double the number of cases reported for all of 2020. At least 14 deaths were included in the 49 cases, although it is not clear if they were directly linked to the use of ivermectin.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center said Monday there are nearly 232 million global COVID cases and nearly 5 million deaths. More than 6 billion vaccines have been administered, the center said.

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