More Koreans are considering “vaccine tours” by visiting the US and other countries to get Covid-19 shots.
However, the government said it could be an unwise decision and drew the line to take responsibility for managing adverse events caused by vaccinations abroad.
Health officials pointed out that vaccine tourism could put people at higher risk of Covid-19 infection and it would be difficult to decide who should take ultimate responsibility if adverse effects appear after the shoots.
Even if people got the first Covid-19 shot in other countries, including the US, they might not get the second shot back in Korea because the government has no way of officially confirming the initial vaccination, according to Bae Kyung-taek , a senior official with the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), at an MBC radio talk show Friday,
“Korea currently confirms about 247 infected people per 100,000 people. In the US, however, there are around 9,700 Covid-19 patients in the same pool,” said Bae. “The death toll in Korea is 3.6 per 100,000 people, but the US population is 113, which means visiting the US to get the vaccine could be an undesirable decision due to the higher risk of infection . “
Bae added that the government could not compensate those who took Covid-19 vaccines and suffered adverse events in the United States.
“The government needs to take care of people who have taken vaccines in Korea and are experiencing adverse events, although the chances are slim,” Bae said. “However, the government will not take responsibility for those who have received Covid-19 shots and are suffering from side effects in the US.”
Bae continued, “People who want to get the Covid-19 recordings overseas will need to be quarantined for two weeks after staying in this country for a month until around the end of June. However, the government will have vaccinated at least 13 million people by the time in the first half of 2021. It might be better to wait a little longer and get the vaccine here without going abroad. “
Bae said that even those who shot the second shots in the US and returned to Korea would have to isolate themselves for weeks. The same rule applies to Korean Americans.
“Korea has an efficient electronic administration system that provides a digital certificate to those who have taken vaccines, but the US distributes documents,” Bae said. “We will work with the US on this matter, but those who returned to Korea after Covid-19 shots in the US would have to follow the self-quarantine rules.”
Koreans also can’t get the first Covid-19 blast in the US and shoot back the next shot in Korea.
“We still have to set up the verification system for people vaccinated in other countries,” said Hong Jeong-ik, a KDCA official in charge of planning the vaccination schedule. “If the government finds out how to work with foreign governments to validate the vaccinated profile, we can help these people get a second shot here.”