South Korea's virus cases surge

The South Korean government faces growing public pressure over its COVID-19 vaccine procurement plans

It comes as the country struggled to contain a third wave of the pandemic, reporting its second-highest daily tally of cases.

Domestic media has lambasted the government's approach to securing newly developed COVID-19 vaccines as too relaxed and overly reliant on locally produced shots, which will take more time than overseas options.

According to one poll, six in 10 South Koreans believe urgency should be prioritised over safety when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines - and that inoculations should begin as soon as possible.

South Korea had 1,092 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the national tally to 52,550.

Health authorities have expressed concern over public perceptions that view the vaccination programme as a global competition, emphasizing instead the need to confirm the safety of the shots.

Meanwhile, the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines for U.S. military personnel stationed in the country will arrive as early as Thursday, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters.