As South Korea ramps up its COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, two local biopharmaceuticals are leading the supply and distribution of foreign jabs -- Green Cross and SK Bioscience.
The state-run Public Procurement Service recently announced that Green Cross has been selected as a local distributor of the mRNA-1237 vaccine developed by US biotech firm Moderna, one of the COVID-19 vaccines that needs to be kept at low temperatures.
Green Cross would be in charge of the distribution of the Moderna jabs for around 20 million people, which the government purchased in a deal signed in December last year. The 40 million doses of Moderna’s two-shot vaccines are expected to arrive here as early as April.
Apart from the contract with the government, Green Cross will soon start producing COVID-19 vaccines at its own local facilities under an agreement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Green Cross will produce around 500 million doses under an original equipment manufacturing agreement. It has not been revealed which company’s vaccine Green Cross would produce here.
SK Bioscience, a biopharmaceutical firm under SK Group, is the one in charge of the supply and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer. The biopharmaceutical firm also began securing facilities that would be used as frozen and refrigerated distribution centers.
Earlier last month, SK Bioscience delivered Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for 55,000 medical workers. The dispatch of the vaccine doses was part of the government’s deal with the COVAX facility.
Between Feb. 24 and 28, SK Bioscience distributed 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, produced at the company’s facility in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province.
SK Bioscience will be also responsible for delivering 4 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which accounts for 20 percent of the deal between the South Korean government and Pfizer. The remaining 80 percent, or 16 million doses, would be directly distributed by Pfizer.
SK Bioscience would also set up and operate a COVID-19 vaccine logistics system to safely transport vaccines manufactured by other foreign vaccine producers.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org