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S. Korea expected to receive Pfizer vaccines in late Feb.-early March: PM

All News 17:23 February 09, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Tuesday that South Korea is expected to receive new coronavirus vaccines from American pharmaceutical company Pfizer between late February and early March.

"Initial inoculations using AstraZeneca vaccines produced in South Korea will begin in late February. We anticipate Pfizer vaccines provided through the COVAX Facility to be brought in between late February and early March," Chung said during an interagency meeting to review the country's COVID-19 vaccination program held at the government complex in Sejong, 120 kilometers south of Seoul.

Last week, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved the special import of 117,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine, which the nation plans to bring in this month through the COVAX Facility, the World Health Organization's global vaccine provision program.

Chung said the government plans to begin COVID-19 vaccinations later this month, with front-line medical workers receiving the first shots using the aforementioned AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by SK Bioscience Co. here in South Korea.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (2nd from R) presides over an interagency meeting to review South Korea's COVID-19 vaccination program held at the government complex in Sejong, 120 kilometers south of Seoul, on Feb. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

The estimated time of arrival of Pfizer vaccines seems to have been somewhat delayed, as Chung mentioned in the past that the shipments from Pfizer would arrive as early as mid February.

Chung also instructed the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and the drug safety ministry to announce the results of their deliberations regarding vaccine efficacy on seniors and against variant cases, and the emergency use approval of AstraZeneca vaccines, swiftly and transparently.

Last week, the ministry said an expert panel cautioned against inoculating people aged 65 or older with AstraZeneca vaccines, citing insufficient data.

The panel advised the ministry to approve AstraZeneca's two full-dose regimen on the condition that the pharmaceutical firm submit further data on clinical trials on adults over age 18.

The ministry said it plans to decide whether to approve the use of AstraZeneca's vaccines in a final review meeting on Wednesday.


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