Amid growing concerns over a fourth wave of the pandemic, President Moon Jae-in says that the South Korean government is doing all it can to stabilize the supply of vaccines through domestic production.
President Moon made the announcement on Monday while presiding over an emergency COVID-19 meeting.
"Novavax vaccines are being produced locally starting this month and the raw materials needed for vaccine production in the first half of the year have been secured. The finished product will be released in June, and 20 million doses will be ready by the third quarter."
Meanwhile, the Moon administration will continue to search for ways to produce and procure extra vaccines in order to distribute them as soon as possible.
The President has asked officials to monitor vaccine rollouts in other countries to find other vaccines that are verified as safe and effective.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said at a briefing on Monday that the government has acquired 150 million doses in total for this year, enough to inoculate 79 million people.
This is enough for around 150 percent of South Korea's population.
18 million doses will be used in the first half of the year to inoculate a total of 12 million people including those who have already been given their vaccines.
The government has also created a task force in which all ministries related to vaccines, such as the foreign ministry and the health ministry, will work together to speed up the inoculation process.
South Korea aims to achieve herd immunity by November or earlier if possible while at the same time securing modified vaccines for mutant viruses and vaccine doses for next year's rollout.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.