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[Exclusive] Government preparing Moderna vaccine for Samsung, SK, LG employees

Samsung employees walk out of the office in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
Samsung employees walk out of the office in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
The South Korean government is preparing to provide the COVID-19 vaccine from US pharmaceutical company Moderna to employees of some major domestic companies as part of efforts to help normalize their business operations early, according to industry sources Wednesday.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor has sent out related guidance to companies including Samsung Electronics and its affiliates, SK and LG Group companies, multiple sources confirmed to The Korea Herald.

According to the companies, the ministry is trying to figure out how many doses of the Moderna vaccine would be needed to vaccinate the employees. The vaccination program for strategic industries would cover companies that run factories here and have their own in-house clinics, the sources said.

For Samsung Electronics alone, around 100,000 shots of the vaccine would be needed, considering the total number of Samsung employees in Korea.

Samsung’s provincial offices, including one in Gwangju, received the ministry’s guidance recently and are considering measures to set up their own vaccination plans.

Samsung’s headquarters for the chipmaking division declined to confirm whether it is preparing for vaccinations. 

Samsung Electro-Mechanics, an electronic component supplier, plans to start vaccination at its on-site clinics from late July. It has as many as 12,000 employees in Suwon in Gyeonggi Province, Sejong and Busan.

“Employees who want to get the Moderna shots were told to submit applications,” a source told The Korea Herald. “However, there is no confirmed administration schedule yet.”

In addition to Samsung Group, companies of SK and LG Group have also been confirmed as having received such communication from the government. 

"SK hynix is considering measures to follow the government guideline regarding the vaccination," said an SK hynix official. 

SK hynix, the second largest memory supplier, has around 28,000 employees in Korea. Its chip plants are located in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province and Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.  

LG Electronics said the company got the government notice, but it hasn't decided on its own plan. 

Korea inked a deal with Moderna to buy a total of 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for 20 million people. 

On June 1, some 55,000 doses enough to innoculate  27,500 people were delivered to the country.

By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp.com
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