The deal was reached Monday evening, Korea time, during a video call between President Moon Jae-in and Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel.
The figure is twice as much South Korea had originally sought to buy, and they also agreed to move up the distribution timeline.
“The number of doses is double what South Korea was seeking to buy from Moderna. The price is expected to go down with the larger purchase. We have also agreed to speed up distribution to start in the second quarter of next year rather than the third. The government and Moderna will be making further efforts to move up that timeline.”
The final results of the Moderna vaccine trial confirmed that its efficacy is similar to Pfizer’s.
Although it comes with a slightly higher price tag, it can be more easily stored and distributed.
The top office said that South Korea is aiming to complete the official contract with Moderna before the end of the year.
Also during the call, Moon and Bancel agreed to ink a memorandum of understanding for R&D cooperation between Moderna and South Korea’s state institute on infectious diseases.
They also agreed to cooperate in terms of consignment production of Moderna vaccines by South Korean companies.
If all goes according to plan, the country will have procured enough doses for 56 million people more than the country’s population.
South Korea has so far secured deals for vaccines for 36 million people from AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer and the COVAX facility global vaccine supply platform with vaccination to start as early as the first quarter of next year.
The top office added that negotiations are currently underway with the American company Novavax for the vaccine it’s developing and for additional vaccine doses from Pfizer, saying they expect the total number of doses to increase.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.