SEOUL, Sept 15 (Bernama): South Korea aims to secure enough Covid-19 (coronavirus) vaccines to administer to 30 million people, or roughly 60 per cent of the country's population, the health ministry said Tuesday, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Under the vaccine plan discussed at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, the country will seek to get vaccines for 10 million people from the COVAX Facility, set up by the World Health Organisation and global vaccine alliance Gavi, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Tuesday (Sept 15).
The rest will be acquired through arrangements with private companies, the ministry added.
It is estimated that two doses of vaccine are required for an individual to acquire immunity to the virus.
The ministry said that based on demand and progress made by local pharmaceutical companies, the country will seek to secure vaccines for a further 20 million people that will allow everyone to receive vaccinations.
To get the vaccines from the COVAX Facility, the country submitted papers to join the international organisation on Aug 31 and will send a legally binding letter of confirmation by Friday.
The country will pay an upfront payment of 172.3 billion won (US$145.5 million) to join the facility by Oct 9 and seek separate deals with global pharmaceutical companies.
Vaccines that South Korea wants to secure will be determined based on safety, effectiveness, price and when it can be made available for use, it said.
Separately, the country has been assisting local biotech companies, such as SK Bioscience, to carry out critical clinical tests. Seoul has also set up a special support centre to facilitate the development of vaccines by local companies.
The health ministry earlier said the country is seeking to develop a treatment material by the end of the year and a vaccine in 2021.
Meanwhile, Xinhua said South Korea reported 106 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 22,391.
The daily caseload stayed below 200 for 13 straight days, but it continued to grow in triple digits since Aug 14.
It was attributed to cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province linked to church services and a massive rally held in central Seoul on Aug. 15.
Of the new cases, 32 were Seoul residents and 31 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.
Fifteen were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 3,029.
Four more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 367. The total fatality rate stood at 1.64 percent.
A total of 389 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 18,878. The total recovery rate was 84.31 percent.
Since Jan 3, the country has tested more than 2.16 million people, among whom 2,114,877 tested negative for the virus and 27,310 are being checked.
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