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S. Korea calls for speedy shipment of Pfizer vaccine from EU

By Yonhap

Published : April 29, 2021 - 22:28

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Vials with a sticker reading, Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (Yonhap-Reuters)

South Korea's trade ministry said Thursday it has requested the European Union to continue to lend a hand for the stable shipment of COVID-19 vaccines made in the region without delay, as Seoul moves to speed up its inoculation program.

Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee made the request to Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis of the European Commission, along with Belgium Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, during her two-day trip to Brussels from Wednesday to Thursday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The remark came as it is mandatory for vaccines produced in the European region to win approval from the European Commission before being shipped overseas.

South Korea said last week it has signed a deal with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. to buy additional doses for 20 million people in a move that could ease public concerns about vaccine shortages. Pfizer has a vaccine production line in Belgium.

Earlier, Seoul secured Pfizer doses to inoculate 13 million people.

South Korea currently administers vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Yoo requested her European counterparts to make joint efforts to mutually recognize their vaccine certificates. The EU plans to adopt the so-called Digital Green Certificate, which will include holders' vaccination information.

South Korea and the EU also vowed to continue to make joint efforts to promote trade between the two parties, according to the ministry.

Trade between South Korea and Europe came to $102.7 billion in 2020, up 3.8 percent from the previous year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Korea especially requested that the EU lift its safeguard against imported steel, which is set to end after June this year, as scheduled. (Yonhap)