April 07, 2021 10:08
The government on Tuesday hinted it could limit exports of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines manufactured in Korea to endure more domestic supply.
Jeong Yoo-jin, who oversees vaccine imports for the government, said, "We are looking at all options to ensure the appropriate supply of vaccines at an early date." Late last month, she said the government was not considering restricting exports.
SK Bioscience manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine at its factory in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province for export to developing countries through the WHO's COVAX Facility.
Earlier, the Indian government limited exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced there saying they are needed at home.
Shipments of AstraZeneca vaccines to Korea had been delayed. The vaccine must be injected twice in intervals of up to three months, and the government hoped to delay the second dose from eight weeks to 10 to give more people their first dose.
But the growing supply problems around the world have raised concerns here that many people might miss out on their second dose within the 12-week timeframe and render the first shot useless.
Kim Woo-joo at Korea University said, "India is facing a crisis with 100,000 new coronavirus cases being reported a day, so it hasn't received too much criticism, but if Korea limits exports, we could face a huge backlash from the international community."
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