SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea aims to secure enough new coronavirus vaccines to administer to 30 million people, or roughly 60 percent of the country's population, the health ministry said Tuesday.
Under the COVID-19 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 Organization and global vaccine alliance Gavi, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.
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 organization 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 center 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.
On Tuesday, the country reported 106 more COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 22,285. The number of deaths stands at 367 with the fatality rate reaching 1.64 percent.
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