A decision by South Korean health authorities to allow more doses to be extracted from coronavirus vaccine vials sparked controversy on Tuesday as the country ramped up its vaccinations of healthcare workers and the elderly.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) had allowed healthcare workers to use the remaining doses if they can squeeze more out of each vial with low dead space syringes, which minimize the amount of vaccine left in the syringe after use.
“The government hasn’t made it mandatory to squeeze extra dose out of a vial and there is a designated person in charge of extraction in large medical centres, which makes it easier for them to draw an extra dose safely” , said Ki Mo-ran, professor of cancer control and population health at National Cancer Center.
KDCA said 23,086 people were given first doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots by Monday midnight.
South Korea has reported 344 new cases on Monday, adding to the total tally of 90,372, with 1,606 deaths.