South Korea may secure additional COVID-19 vaccines from Novavax, Moon says


FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during an online New Year news conference with local and foreign journalists at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, 18 January 2021. Jeon Heon-Kyun/Pool via REUTERS

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea may secure additional coronavirus vaccines for 20 million people from U.S. drugmaker Novavax Inc, President Moon Jae-in said, according to a statement from the presidential office on Wednesday.

Novavax entered into a development and supply agreement for its vaccine with South Korea's SK bioscience Co last year, according to a statement in August.

Moon visited SK bioscience's work site on Wednesday and said that the agreement between Novavax and SK bioscience "raised the possibility of securing vaccines for an additional 20 million people," the statement said.

That is in addition to the vaccines that the South Korean government has secured so far.

The country has secured 106 million doses to allow for coverage of 56 million people, more than the 52 million residents of the country, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) director Jeong Eun-kyeong said earlier this month.

Despite this, South Korean authorities have been working to secure additional vaccine volumes because of lingering uncertainties surrounding inoculation, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said last week.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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