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   제목: Gov't, Samsung in talks with Moderna for faster vaccine supply

Gov't, Samsung in talks with Moderna for faster vaccine supply

August 18, 2021

By Kim Yoo-chul

Korean health ministry officials are teaming up with representatives of Samsung Biologics for advanced discussions with Moderna for speeding up the COVID-19 vaccine supply here, two sources directly involved with the issue told The Korea Times, Wednesday.

Specifically, South Korea aims to receive 24 million vaccine doses from Moderna by the end of October, as the country is hoping to immunize at least 70 percent of its population with two shots each by that time, they said. Despite the continued vaccine shortages, the October goal could be achievable by maximizing the efficiency of available supplies, President Moon Jae-in said.

But the sources noted that the country's target of getting 24 million doses by October didn't include the doses to be manufactured by Samsung Biologics' Songdo production facility in Incheon, which will begin production late this month.

"Moderna confirmed it has entered into a supply agreement with the government to provide 40 million doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of this year, with its first shipment to be completed in May. But out of the guaranteed volume, just 2.45 million have arrived so far, some 6 percent. Korea aims to get 24 million doses of Moderna vaccines by the end of October, which is an achievable goal as Samsung Biologics will play its part," one source said.

The country's health minister issued a public apology over the delay of Moderna vaccine shipments, as the U.S. company said it was only able to deliver less than half of the 8.5 million doses promised for this month. Because of the continued spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, South Korea has been seeing a record amount of new daily cases in recent weeks. Despite its decision to allow people in their 20s and 30s to take available AstraZeneca vaccine shots, the country-wide inoculation campaign has still been played by vaccine shortages.

Early Wednesday, senior presidential secretary for communication Park Soo-hyun said in a local radio interview that Moderna will notify the government of its final decision regarding South Korea's requests for early vaccine distribution by the end of this week.

"Out of the guaranteed 40 million doses, Moderna verbally vowed to provide 37.6 million doses, 94 percent, by this year. That verbal agreement could be finalized (by this week)," Park said adding that despite his acknowledgement of Moderna's updated vaccine supply plans, the government is being asked to maintain a cautious stance until Moderna releases its final updates on vaccine shipments.

Excerpts articles from The Korea Times
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