“Moderna informed us on Saturday that it would deliver 7.01 million doses by the first week of September,” Second Deputy Health Minister Kang Do-tae said at a press briefing.
About 1.01 million doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive at Incheon airport on Monday. The remaining 6 million doses will be delivered one after another for two weeks, with no specific schedule disclosed.
Including the latest vaccines, a total of 8.31 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive in Korea in early September. This is about 20 percent of the total of 40 million doses for which the government signed a contract earlier this year with the American company.
Korea’s vaccination efforts have been hampered by delays in shipping Moderna’s vaccine due to a supply disruption.
Earlier this month, officials visited Moderna headquarters to express deep regret over the delay and to discuss procurement plans.
During the press conference, Kang also denied reports that Romania is considering donating vaccines to Korea.
The day before, the Romanian public press agency Agerpres had announced that the country’s government had decided to donate 450,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to Korea for humanitarian purposes. The news agency said the batch was nearing its expiration date and vaccination rates in Romania had slowed over the summer.
Later the same day, the Foreign Ministry said in a text message to reporters: “The current news that the Romanian government is distributing vaccines for free is not true, and discussions are ongoing between Korea and the Republic of Korea. Romania in terms of vaccine trade. ”
Kang said that the expiration date was approaching is also wrong. “The validity period of the Moderna vaccine, which is under discussion, is after November.”
Romania, which is struggling to convince its population to get vaccinated, this month donated 1.3 million doses of vaccine to Tunisia, Egypt, Albania and Vietnam. Last month it delivered 100,000 doses to neighboring Moldova and Georgia.
The Korean government said it had established trust with Romania by providing equipment such as the diagnostic kits it sent in March of last year when the pandemic broke out.
Authorities said more than 50% of the country’s population received their first COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday.
By midnight as of Saturday, about 25.86 million people had received their first vaccines and 11.56 million people were fully vaccinated.
President Moon Jae-in said on Facebook the same day that progress on vaccination efforts was faster than expected.
“If this trend continues, 70 percent of the population will be able to complete their first vaccinations before Chuseok, and 50 percent will be fully vaccinated by the end of September,” he said. The Chuseok holiday, or Korean Thanksgiving, falls from September 20 to 22 this year.
The pace of the vaccination effort is expected to pick up on Thursday, when the first vaccines are expected to be given to people between the ages of 18 and 49.
Participation in the country’s advance reservation system for vaccinations began on August 8 for the age group, and the reservation rate stood at 63.9%.
By Shin Ji-hye ([email protected])