Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

U.S. sends 1 mln J&J COVID-19 vaccine doses to S.Korea -State Dept

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Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) - The United States is shipping one million doses of Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine to South Korea, a U.S. State Department spokesman said on Friday, one day after President Joe Biden laid out his plan to share vaccine doses globally.

"One million J&J vaccines are headed to our partners in the Republic of Korea. With these doses we’re ensuring the safety and readiness of ROK and U.S. forces. The friendship between our two countries runs deep, especially in times of great need," spokesman Ned Price said in a post on Twitter.

Reservations for the incoming U.S. doses -- nearly double the amount initially promised by Washington -- have already been taken, Seoul officials said earlier this week. read more

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Infections are decreasing in South Korea, which has so far administered enough doses to inoculate about 9% of its population, Reuters data show.

On Thursday, Biden unveiled how his administration would distribute 25 million surplus doses across the globe, including 6 million shared among South Korea, Mexico, Canada, India, the West Bank and Gaza, among other partner nations and United Nations frontline workers.

Another 5 million will go to African countries, 7 million to Asian nations and 6 million to South and Central American countries, according to the White House.

South Korea, a key U.S. ally in Asia, was the second nation to be welcomed by Biden when he hosted South Korean President Jae-in at the White House last month. read more

At the time, Moon said Biden had committed 550,000 COVID-19 vaccines doses for South Korean soldiers. read more

Biden on Thursday said the United States was sharing its doses to end the pandemic, which has killed more than 3.7 million people worldwide, not to extract political favors.

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Reporting by Susan Heavey and Steve Holland; Editing by Toby Chopra

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