South Korea Buy Additional Corona Vaccines Exceeding Population

Feb 20 (Sat), 11:30 PM Coordinated Universal Time


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South Korea buys additional corona virus (Covid-19) vaccines for more than 23 million residents so that supplies will exceed the local population.

Previously, South Korea already had vaccine supplies for 56 million people. With these additions, South Korea has secured vaccines for 79 million people, outnumbering a population of 52 million.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the local government had agreed to buy the coronavirus vaccine made by Novavax for 20 million residents, plus Pfizer's vaccine for 3 million residents.

"The government has been working to provide a sufficient number of vaccines, but there are provisions for our plans for the early stages, because of production problems with producers and international competition for more vaccines," Chung said.

The local government decided to reduce the initial vaccination plan due to delays and problems with vaccine efficacy.

The South Korean government has cut its first phase vaccination target from 1.3 million to less than 760 thousand people.

Director of the Korea Agency for Disease Control and Prevention (KDCA), Jeong Eun-kyeong, said the reduction in the first quarter target is not expected to affect the goal of achieving herd immunity. Even so, some health experts doubt whether it can be done quickly.

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Apart from the problem of the efficacy of clinical trials, South Korea said the delay in the vaccination program occurred because a number of vaccine manufacturers had difficulty delivering their orders on time due to production factors.

That's what made South Korea buy additional vaccines from Novavax Inc. and Pfizer.

The initial stage of vaccination in South Korea will be prioritized for health workers and the elderly population. The local government had previously stated that they would not use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 65 years and over, due to the insufficient level of efficacy.

Apart from AstraZeneca, South Korea also bought vaccines from Covax, Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

United States-based Novavax issued a statement saying it had signed a licensing agreement with South Korean pharmaceutical producer, SK Bioscience, to produce 40 million doses of the vaccine.

SK Bioscience said it has exclusive rights to produce and sell vaccines in South Korea and has rights to sell in several Southeast Asian countries.

The additional 6 million doses agreed with Pfizer are intended to help qualify for two vaccine doses.