A vaccine swap deal has been established between South Korea and Israel for 700,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
The doses are to arrive at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday morning and Seoul will provide the same amount of doses to Israel starting September when more doses from Pfizer come.
The doses coming from Israel has an expiration date of July 31st and if not used by then they would have been wasted.
Our country has the cold chain and infrastructure to administer all 700,000 Pfizer doses before the expiration date. Also, the deal was established considering the high participation in inoculation which allows for the vaccination campaign to be shorter."
When received the health authorities will conduct quality screenings and have them ready to be rolled out starting July 13th.
Considering the doses were manufactured in Belgium, which also supplies South Korea, the authorities expect no issues in approving them for use.
340,000 doses will be given in Seoul and its surrounding areas, where the COVID-19 situation is the worst in the nation.
Local districts will decide on the recipients but will focus on some sectors that have a high amount of contact with other people
The rest will be used to give jabs to teachers of Kindergarten to 2nd grade students 15 days faster than planned.
The swap deal comes as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said efforts to obtain unused vaccines from other countries started in April.
"This vaccine swap was established with the agreed idea that not a single drop of COVID-19 vaccine should be wasted."
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also said in a statement following the announcement that it's a win-win deal adding, "together, we will beat the pandemic."
As for the return of the 700,000 doses starting in September by then Seoul plans to have given at least 70 percent of its citizens the first dose ultimately reaching herd immunity in November.
With this plan the country will be able to make room for those doses to be sent to Israel.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.