UK, South Korea to Share COVID-19 Vaccines in Swap Deal

The United Kingdom and South Korea will share COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of a swap deal to mutually support their respective vaccination programs.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care announced on Sept. 22 that the UK will send over one million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to South Korea to help the East Asian country reach its target of administering a second dose to 70% of its population by the end of October.

“The Republic of Korea is a strategic partner for the UK and the sharing of one million vaccines benefits both countries as we help build resistance against COVID-19 and save lives,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

The first batch of the doses is expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

South Korea will then return “the same volume of doses” to the UK by the end of 2021.

The UK said that the swapping initiative will not affect its ongoing vaccination program or its commitment to donate doses to the global COVAX initiative.

“Separately, we continue to deliver on our commitment to donate 100 million doses to nations around the world by June 2022 to ensure as many people across the world are as safe from COVID-19 as possible,” UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.

The UK has already donated 10.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries, including the 6.2 million doses shared through COVAX.

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