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Daegu mayor apologizes for controversial bid to import Pfizer vaccines

Politics 15:40 June 08, 2021

DAEGU, June 8 (Yonhap) -- The mayor of Daegu offered an apology on Tuesday for causing a "big stir" over the southeastern city's recent bid to import a massive amount of Pfizer vaccines that turned out to be fake.

Mayor Kwon Young-jin apologized to Daegu citizens and the whole nation in a news conference, saying his city's attempt to arrange for the South Korean government to buy 30 million doses of Pfizer vaccines from abroad was made out of good will.

Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin reads a statement of apology over his city's controversial attempt to buy Pfizer vaccines from a dubious foreign company in a news conference at his office on June 8, 2021. (Yonhap)

The incident dates back to May 31, when Kwon told reporters that a foreign trading company contacted by an association of medical institutions in Daegu can provide 30 million Pfizer doses for the South Korean government in three weeks.

Kwon said he had delivered the vaccine import proposal to the central government. But the Ministry of Health and Welfare concluded days later that the Pfizer vaccine proposal from Daegu was not trustworthy, while Pfizer Korea also raised questions about the foreign trading company, saying its vaccines are not provided through an intermediary.

"What started with good intentions to help the government purchase more vaccines has caused social criticism and political controversy. It has also created a big stir in our society," Kwon said in the news conference.

"It was my mistake that this case regarded as one of the simple cases of a failed vaccine import has escalated into a fake vaccine fraud case," the mayor said, noting his hasty mention of the Pfizer vaccine proposal on May 31 has also triggered a political controversy.

Kwon said he is entirely responsible for all the controversy.

"The image of Daegu was tarnished due to my careless words," the mayor said. "I also caused deep wounds and disappointment to the citizens suffering from COVID-19."

ycm@yna.co.kr
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