South Korea has said it will secure an early supply of coronavirus vaccines for 30 million people, or 60% of its population.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, saying that although authorities would like to vaccinate the country’s entire population of 52 million, uncertainty around the vaccine’s safety, efficacy and development was limiting investment.
Chung maintained that South Korea will negotiate with the relevant international organisations and vaccine makers to secure the early supply of the COVID-19 vaccines and would buy more as the development proceeds.
In August, South Korea said it planned to join the COVAX facility, a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to help buy and fairly distribute the shots.
South Korea said it will acquire 20 million doses of vaccines from the COVAX scheme, available for 10 million people, and 40 million doses from private drug makers, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.
South Korea’s SK Bioscience in July agreed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) experimental vaccine, that has shown promise against the coronavirus, to help the British company build global supplies.
Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) last month separately said SK Bioscience, a unit of SK Chemicals (285130.KS), would manufacture a component of the U.S. drug developer’s experimental coronavirus vaccine in a bid to boost its supply.