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Korea as a Global Vaccine Production Hub : Ironing out the Details in the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Scaling-up Production

  • Date : 2021-07-06
  • Hit : 723

Korea as a Global Vaccine Production Hub : Ironing out the Details in the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Scaling-up Production

- Global Vaccine Production Hub Task Force launched today (June 3rd (Thu)) as an interdepartmental initiative
- The Task Force will operate programs under the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership such as Korea-US business initiatives
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◈ The comprehensive KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership is one of the key outcomes of the recent ROK-US Summit (May 19th – 23rd). To pave the way for a successful implementation of this agreement the Global Vaccine Production Hub Task Force was formed. It is an interdepartmental team led by the Minister of Health and Welfare, comprised of ten departments including the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The Task Force held its first meeting at 2PM today (June 3rd (Thu)), at the Government Complex Seoul.
○ The team discussed core components* of the initiative such as the formation of KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Experts Group which will be the review body in the bilateral effort to bring the capacities of the two nations to bear in developing, producing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines.


  * ① Launching of KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Experts Group, ② Coordinating support for the initiative through a whole-of-government approach, ③ Preparing for Korea-US discussions of the practical delivery of the partnership project
○ The meeting was also an opportunity to assess each department’s progress so far and next steps for the joint initiatives agreed to at the ROK-US Summit.
○ The meeting agenda also included creating a channel of dialogue with businesses, organizing a consortium of COVID-19 vaccine companies, forming an on-site consultative body, etc.


< What is the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership? >
○ As the global demand for the COVID-19 vaccine further outstrips the supply, a mutually beneficial collaboration between Korea and the United States is being pursued where the former brings the production capability, and the latter supplies the technological capacity and vaccine materials. → The project will seek to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine production in Korea and make these doses available for global distribution.
○ More specifically, the objectives will be : ① Capacity expansion of Korean vaccine production sites, ② Greater volume of US vaccine materials and components supplied, ③ Build a comprehensive framework of collaboration between the two nations in science, technology, and other relevant fields.
○ Scientists, experts, and government officials will comprise the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Experts Group (hereinafter referred to as the Experts Group) whose operational tasks will include discussions on practical implementation strategies.


□ Recognizing the nation’s great potential as a global hub for vaccine production and distribution, the Korean government has formed the Global Vaccine Production Hub Task Force to realize this crucial mission by applying the full weight of the government behind the project. As a global vaccine production hub, the nation is expected to make a significant contribution to the global vaccine production volume, and ultimately play a vital role in bringing about the resolution of the pandemic as quickly as possible. The Task Force is an interdepartmental team led by Minister Kwon Deok-cheol of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The first Task Force meeting was held today (June 3rd (Thu)) at the Government Complex Seoul.

○ Below are the first steps coordinated by the government-wide framework on the implementation of the comprehensive KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership which was agreed to by the heads of the two nations during the May 21st ROK-US Summit.
* ROK-US Leaders’ Joint Statement (May 21st, 2021)
[W]e agree to establish a comprehensive KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership to strengthen joint response capabilities for infectious disease through international vaccine cooperation, including focus areas on global expansion of production and related materials, as well as scientific and technological cooperation.

○ Today’s meeting (June 3rd (Thu)) included a review of each department’s work on continuing the significant progress on vaccines President Moon Jae-in was able to bring about after his head-of-state visit to the United States, along with discussions on organizing a government-wide framework for expanding Korea’s vaccine production capacity.

○ Other relevant initiatives were discussed such as a channel of dialogue with businesses, a consortium of COVID-19 vaccine companies, and a collaborative ecosystem that pools research capacities, talent, and facilities.

□ To fast-track vaccine production, the Korean government is forming the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Experts Group (hereinafter referred to as the Experts Group), a Korea-US review body that will discuss technology transfer, supply of raw materials and components, and other related topics. The tasks will include developing cooperation agenda and defining specific implementation plans.

* KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership Experts Group (draft proposal)
Korea and the US will each appoint 15 experts per category : government officials, scientists, and civilian experts.


○ The Korean government continues to engage diplomatic channels to discuss with the United States the formation of the Experts Group, while also beginning practical preparations such as organizing a Korean experts group and drafting detailed operational rules.


□ The Experts Group and the surrounding framework of implementation and support are part of the government’s strategy to ensure that the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership agreement takes on life in the real world. Discussions around the design and implementation of this framework were guided by the overarching goal of the government to focus all available national capacity upon the task of accelerating domestic vaccine production to ultimately make a significant contribution to the global vaccine supply.

○ First, the interdepartmental Global Vaccine Production Hub Task Force* which was launched today (June 3rd (Thu)) will play the accountable role by inspecting the progress in preparing the domestic infrastructure for at-scale vaccine production for each stage of development, production, and distribution, while also providing the necessary policy and financial support.

* Global Vaccine Production Hub Task Force
Head of Team : Minister of Health and Welfare
Team Members (Vice Minister level officials) : Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of SMEs and Startups, Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Korea Intellectual Property Office, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency

○ An ancillary team* within the government will be dedicated to the vaccine partnership initiative and the global hub initiative, in order to provide the support necessary to rapidly apply to the real world the various successful agreements the President was able to realize during his head-of-state visit to the US.

* Global Vaccine Production Hub Program Implementation Unit
Led by the Deputy Minister of the Office for Healthcare Policy, Ministry of Health and Welfare (formed on May 31st).

□ An official dialogue with businesses (June 4th (Fri)) attended by the 2nd Vice Minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare will endeavor to establish a focal point around which all the vaccine production capacities of the nation can convene. Plans to implement the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership and to secure Korea’s position as a global hub for vaccine development and production will be shared with the pharmaceutical industry and related associations at the meeting, while also discussing areas of cooperation.

○ The government will support the formation of consortia that will enable businesses to work together in various areas including jointly securing raw materials and components, technology collaboration, production collaboration (e.g. packaging vaccine solutions into vials), and when necessary, creating a talent pool and sharing facility space and equipment.

○ Korea Health Industry Development Institute has also created a dedicated task force (June 2nd (Wed)) to support such consortia as part of the government-wide effort to advance Korea’s position as a global hub for vaccine development, production, and distribution. The plans involve aligning collaboration efforts with needs arising from such initiatives, including active promotion of consortium formation and the effective engagement of the resulting cooperative framework.

□ Lastly, steps were taken to prepare for the next round of talks with the US counterparts which will involve more practical actions, such as : ① Setting collaboration agenda for the talks, ② Assessing progress made in the collaboration areas* agreed to under the Partnership and taking preparatory steps, ③ Defining the role of the government in facilitating technology transfer between business entities.

○ It was also agreed that since this Partnership offers an opportunity for Korea to secure its position as a crucial global hub in the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain, systematic and comprehensive support needs to be drawn up and promptly implemented in order to leverage this opportunity.

* Main Areas of Collaboration
- Vaccine production capacity
- Managing supply and demand of raw materials and components
- Further strengthening the government’s role as a bridge between the business of the two countries to promote greater cooperation

○ It should also be noted that newly emerging COVID-19 variants are demanding continued updates in the vaccine, therefore, the government plans to not only cooperate with the US government and businesses, but also expand the range of partnerships by reaching out to other nations and international organizations, should the need arise.

□ “Through the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership, production of the COVID-19 vaccine has been accelerated, thus strengthening the global vaccine production infrastructure and increasing vaccine supply,” noted Minister Kwon Deok-cheol of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

○ Minister Kwon reiterated the government’s steadfast dedication and broad vision by explaining that “this Partnership will allow the nation to further contribute to the resolution of the global pandemic, and the government will mobilize all its available resources to guide Korea’s vaccine industry towards becoming a global hub. We look forward to making swift and tangible progress with this initiative which can be felt by our people and our businesses.”

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