South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Tuesday the government secured additional Covid-19 vaccines for 23 million people, raising the total secured volume to doses for 79 million people.
Chung told an interagency meeting for Covid-19 response that the country will receive vaccine doses for 20 million people from the US pharmaceutical firm Novavax and additional doses for 3 million people from the US drugmaker Pfizer, respectively, Xinhua news agency reported.
South Korea had already secured Covid-19 vaccines for 56 million people, including doses for 10 million each from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, 20 million from Moderna, 6 million from Janssen and 10 million from the COVAX facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Chung said the contract with Novavax was more significant as vaccines from the US company will be manufactured in local factories through the transfer of technology to a South Korean drugmaker.
He noted that it will play a big role in speeding up the development of homegrown Covid-19 vaccines.
The Novavax vaccines will be manufactured in the vaccine production plant of SK Bioscience, a pharmaceutical unit of South Korea’s third-biggest conglomerate SK Group.
The produced vaccines will be supplied domestically.
South Korea separately signed a consignment manufacturing agreement with AstraZeneca last year.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to offer Covid-19 vaccines to all of the country’s 52 million population free of charge, aiming to almost completely form a herd immunity no later than November.
In the latest tally, the country reported 457 more cases of Covid-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 84,325. The daily caseload rose above 400 in four days.