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South Korea signs deal with Pfizer for 30 mln COVID-19 vaccines for 2022

Christian Fernsby |
South Korea said Friday it has signed a deal with Pfizer Inc. to buy 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be administered next year and has an option for an additional 30 million doses, health authorities said.

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The contract is part of the Seoul government's plan to secure 50 million vaccine doses to cover the first shots of the country's population of 52 million for next year, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The supply of 30 million Pfizer doses will begin in the first quarter of next year, and another 30 million doses can be purchased when needed, the KDCA said.

The KDCA said it will consider buying an additional 20 million doses for next year, aimed at battling the spread of COVID-19 variants, such as the delta strain.

The authorities said they will consider various factors, such as the latest study on efficacy against variants, in regard to the optional purchase of additional doses.

In June, the country began preparations to secure more vaccines for next year as the COVID-19 pandemic here is expected to continue even after achieving much-awaited herd immunity this year.

Since the country launched its vaccination program in late February, a total of 21.98 million people, or 42.8 percent of the country's 51.34 million population, have received their first shots.

Around 17.4 percent, or 8.93 million people, have been fully vaccinated, according to the KDCA.

The country aims to administer at least one shot to 36 million people, or 70 percent of its population, by September with hopes of reaching herd immunity in November.

So far, the country has signed deals to secure over 100 million doses of vaccines, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

The vaccination drive has picked up speed as the country is faced with the fourth wave of the pandemic due to a rising number of variants.

On Friday, the country added 1,990 COVID-19 cases, staying at around 2,000 for the third day in a row, the KDCA said. The total caseload was increased to 220,182.

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