The South Korean government has secured enough COVID-19 vaccines for 44 million people after striking preliminary deals with a number of vaccine developers and from a global vaccine project.
On Tuesday, the Health Minister announced that as well as the doses for 10 million people from the COVAX Facility, the government has pre-ordered additional vaccines from four vaccine developers.
Those deals are 20 million doses from AstraZeneca, 20 million from Pfizer, 4 million from Janssen, and 20 million from Moderna.
A total of 34 million people will be able to be vaccinated by those doses.
All together, roughly 88 percent of the total population of South Korea can be vaccinated.
The government said the deal with AstraZeneca is done and negotiations with the other three vaccine suppliers will be completed soon.
It has set aside 1.3 trillion won or 1.2 billion U.S. dollars for purchasing vaccines.
As for the timeline, the process will start latest March but preparation will start soon.

“We will begin preparations for COVID-19 vaccines. We expect many obstacles along the way due to the COVID-19 vaccines requiring complicated storage conditions and having short expiration dates. The government will start the preparation process regardless of when it starts.”

He added there will be a new task force created for the vaccination process.
With the vaccines not yet developed completely, the government will make sure they are safe for use before distributing them.
The government says the plan is to have the most vulnerable, such as senior citizens, and front-line medical workers vaccinated first.
The minister also showed hopes for domestic COVID-19 treatments.

“In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, we may have some results for the approvals on multiple domestic treatments by the end of the year or at the latest early next year.”

South Korean pharmaceutical company Celltrion has been waiting for emergency approval for its antibody treatment, which it claims effectively prevents mild COVID-19 patients from developing a severe case.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.

Reporter : tkim@arirang.com

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