South Korea plans to ship AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam and Thailand about 1.6 million times this week, the Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday as Southeast Asian countries struggle to contain the spread of the virus.
Donations will be made as South Korea’s vaccination program is accelerating rapidly and 70% of the population is expected to be vaccinated by the end of the month.
According to the Ministry of Health, about 62% of South Korea’s total population is fully vaccinated and is expected to ease the strictest regulations by next month. Thailand is fully vaccinated with 33% of the population and Vietnam is vaccinated with about 17%.
According to the South Korean government, about 1.1 million doses will be given to Vietnam and 470,000 doses to Thailand.
South Korea is one of the wealthiest countries in the world to launch a vaccination program, causing frustration among citizens who have already lived for a year under restrictions to control the spread of the virus. rice field. Eight months later, the country has more per capita vaccinations than the United States, which has the world’s largest vaccine supply.
The US government has invested about $ 1.2 billion in the development of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, hoping it will be one of the many vaccines in the arsenal. Instead, federal authorities have not yet approved the use of shots, and millions of doses remain unused and are probably destined to be exported. President Biden has promised to donate up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Latin American, Southeast Asian and African countries.
AstraZeneca vaccines are cheaper and easier to store than the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, but suffer from manufacturing accidents, questions about their effectiveness, and reports of very rare blood clots. .. In concern, South Korea temporarily stopped using the vaccine in April, but cleared it for re-use a few days later.