S. Korea to secure 30 million COVID-19 vaccines

Sep 16, 2020, 08:31 am

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Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks at a cabinet meeting at the Seoul government complex on Sept. 15, 2020./ Source: Yonhap News

AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong 

The South Korean government aims to secure COVID-19 vaccines that can inoculate some 30 million people through cooperation with the COVAX Facility or foreign vaccine developers. The government also plans to purchase more vaccines based on demand and progress made by local pharmaceutical companies. 

“The government will negotiate with relevant international organizations and foreign companies to secure the a supply for 30 million people, or 60 percent of the country’s population,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a cabinet meeting at the Seoul government complex on Tuesday.

“We want to secure enough supplies to inoculate the entire population, but there is a still a limit to investing recklessly because the safety and efficacy of vaccines, as well as the success of vaccine development, remains uncertain,” Chung said, calling for a “proactive and strategic” approach.

Chung said the government would seek to secure more vaccines based as developments unfolded. “We will also boldly provide support for domestic vaccine development,” he said.

The prime minister ordered relevant ministries to “focus on negotiations and investments to secure a stable supply of vaccines, and to carefully prepare vaccination plans in advance.”

The government’s plan to secure the vaccine is through joining the COVAX facility, an international organization created to guarantee quick and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines throughout the world.

From the COVAX scheme, the government plans to secure 20 million doses of vaccine, enough for 10 million people. It needs to pay an upfront payment of $3.5 per dose to join the facility. In order to do so, it prepared 172.3 billion won ($145.5 million) to pay for vaccines.

The government also decided to seek separate deals with global pharmaceutical companies to secure 40 million doses of vaccine for 20 million people. Vaccines that the country wants to secure from private companies will be determined based on safety, efficacy, price and when they can be made available for use.

The government plans to secure enough vaccines to administer over 60 percent of the country’s population, based on the development process in the country and the situation of supply and demand of vaccine.

It is providing support to three domestic vaccine developers carrying out critical clinical tests, including SK Bioscience. It has also set up a special support center to facilitate the development of vaccines by local companies.

#COVID-19 #vaccine #South Korea #COVAX Facility 
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