S.Korea cuts interval for third shot for elderly

South Korea has shortened by two months the interval between the country's second coronavirus vaccine shots and third booster shots for the elderly, as its new infection case numbers continue to soar.

South Korea began phasing out coronavirus restrictions this month. But on Tuesday, the number of new cases confirmed in Seoul reached 1,436, a record high for the capital. The nationwide figure was 3,187, the second-highest so far.

The number of seriously ill patients nationwide topped 500 for the first time.

People aged 60 and older and hospital inpatients who received their second shot six months earlier are starting to get the third shot.
On Wednesday, the government announced the interval would be shortened from six months to four months.

People in their 50s will be eligible for the booster five months after their second jab.

The government expects to administer booster shots to nearly 14 million people, or about a quarter of the country's population, by the year-end.

South Korea has vaccinated 78.4 percent of its population, but experts point to so-called breakthrough infections among those inoculated early in the program.