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PoongLim Pharmatech to begin mass production of COVID-19 vaccine syringes

A medical worker at a clinic in western Seoul prepares a flu vaccine on Wednesday afternoon. (Yonhap)
A medical worker at a clinic in western Seoul prepares a flu vaccine on Wednesday afternoon. (Yonhap)

PoongLim Pharmatech, a local medical device manufacturer, will produce 10 million syringes a month for COVID-19 vaccines, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups said Tuesday.

The Gunsan, North Jeolla Province-based firm recently finished repurposing its factory as a smart manufacturing facility to produce a more efficient type of syringe, known as a low-dead-space syringe. It is designed to minimize the amount of fluid left between the plunger and needle after a shot.

PoongLim’s syringe received approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety last week.

The ministry said the government and Samsung Electronics had helped the firm to expedite preparations for the product’s mass production, as the country struggles to curb a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Samsung Electronics in December dispatched around 30 experts and engineers to help PoongLim Pharmatech expand and automatize its syringe manufacturing facility.

With the help of Samsung Electronics, PoongLim Pharmatech has increased its production capacity by 2.5 times and is now capable of producing 10 million vaccine syringes a month, up from the 4 million syringes the company had previously planned to produce.

The Ministry of SMEs and Startups is currently assisting six more local medical device makers by cutting red tape and helping them get state-backed loans, it said. They include Korea Vaccine and Sungshim Medical.

South Korea has secured enough vaccine for 56 million people from five suppliers, but it will not be available all at once. The country is planning to provide it to front-line medical workers and vulnerable people first.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)

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