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'Vaccine nationalism' likely to delay end of coronavirus pandemic: BOK

South Korea’s central bank warned Sunday that efforts by individual nations to prioritize their own citizens over others for access to a future coronavirus vaccine are likely to push back the time frame for the pandemic’s end.

“There are projections that development of some of the vaccines will be complete by the second half of 2021,” the Bank of Korea said in its regular report on the global economy.

“But there is a possibility that the end of the coronavirus pandemic may be pushed back if ‘vaccine nationalism’ limits vaccination in third-world countries,” it added.

The BOK said that safety testing was already one of the hurdles to vaccination for “regular citizens,” but that vaccine nationalism had added to the complications.

It noted the United States’ move toward formal withdrawal from the World Health Organization, which kicked off earlier in the year, saying this would impact the “fair distribution of vaccines and cures against the COVID-19.”

According to the BOK, some 35 vaccines are undergoing human clinical trials at an accelerated pace, as of September.

Vaccine nationalism is spurring concerns as it involves governments signing agreements with pharmaceutical manufacturers to supply their own populations with vaccines at the exclusion of others.

By Jung Min-kyung (