SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s medicine regulator said Sunday it will shorten an approval process of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, as the nation signed deals to import coronavirus vaccines amid the winter wave of the pandemic.
It usually takes about 180 days for a vaccine to be approved under a standard licensing procedure, but the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it aims to shorten the approval process to as low as 40 days due to the pandemic’s urgency.
In South Korea, a vaccine must win additional approval before it is distributed and sold.
Such an approval process takes two or three months, but the ministry said it plans to shorten the process for sale to as low as 20 days.
Last week, the government said South Korea has signed deals with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen and Pfizer to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for a total of 16 million people.
Previously, the government said it had signed deals to secure vaccines for 44 million people.
South Korea added 970 more COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the total caseload to 56,872, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.