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Korea sees growing number of breakthrough infections

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By Bahk Eun-ji

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Thursday that more than 5,000 COVID-19 breakthrough infections, mostly among young men who received Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine, have been detected as of Sept. 12.

Janssen COVID-19 vaccine / Yonhap
Janssen COVID-19 vaccine / Yonhap
According to the KDCA, 5,880 people tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated with the one-shot vaccine.

This means 40.2 people per 100,000 fully vaccinated patients have been subject to breakthrough infections. By age group, people in their 30s made up the largest ratio, of up to 110.1 per 100,000.

From Aug. 29 to Sept. 11, 10.2 percent of new cases, or 20,895, were believed to be breakthrough infections.

By vaccine type, people getting Janssen shots made up the largest portion, with 161.2 out of 100,000 testing positive, followed by 33.5 people receiving Pfizer jabs, 27.6 receiving AstraZeneca and 24.2 receiving Moderna.

In Korea, Janssen was mostly given to men in their 30s after the United States provided 1 million doses of the vaccine in June to be used for military-related personnel, following an agreement between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden at their May summit. As most conscripts here are in their 20s and the Janssen vaccine was restricted to those aged 30 or older, the vaccine was given to reservists or civil defense members.

"It is true that a high rate of breakthrough infections has been reported among people who used the Janssen vaccine," KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong said during a National Assembly session, Sept. 7. "But we believe this was partly because young people in their 20s and 30s make up a larger ratio of patients than other age groups in the current fourth wave of infections and partly because Janssen is a single-dose regimen."


Bahk Eun-ji ejb@koreatimes.co.kr


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