Seoul, Dec 8 (IANS) The South Korean Health Ministry on Tuesday announced that it has planned to secure Covid-19 vaccines from foreign drugmakers for 44 million people, or 88 pecent of the country’s total population.
In a statement, the Ministry said it pre-ordered 20 million doses of vaccines each from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, which require two shots, as well as 4 million doses of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen that require one shot for the country’s 34 million people, reports Xinhua news agency.
The pre-order contract was formally signed with AstraZeneca, while other contracts planned to be inked in the near future, the ministry said.
The remaining vaccines for 10 million people will be secured through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global vaccine project, called COVAX Facility.
The government set aside a combined 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) of the budget for the vaccine purchase.
The pre-ordered vaccines will be shipped to the country from February next year in a gradual way.
If necessary, the country will secure additional vaccines according to the development of other vaccine candidates, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry said it has not decided on the vaccination schedule give that the vaccine development had yet to be completed while concerns remained over their safety and efficacy.
The government was considering the first inoculation of virus-vulnerable people, such as the elderly, nursing home residents and the chronically ill, as well as healthcare workers.