Biden: US will provide vaccinations for South Korean service members
President Biden announced Friday that the U.S. would provide coronavirus vaccines for 550,000 South Korean service members at a press conference alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“There are 550,000 Korean soldiers, sailors, airmen who work in close contact with American forces in Korea,” Biden said. “We’ll provide full vaccinations for all 550,000 of those Korean forces engaging with American forces on a regular basis, both for their sake and the sake of the American forces.”
Biden also said he and Moon discussed a partnership on vaccines that would involved a U.S. manufacturer, though he did not name the company or go into further detail.
The announcement came after Biden welcomed Moon to the White House for his second in-person foreign leader visit since taking office in January.
Only a small percentage of South Korea’s population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and vaccines were expected to be a topic going into Friday’s bilateral meeting. Moon said that the two leaders had agreed to a partnership on vaccines and that Biden had agreed to supply vaccines to South Korean service members before the president offered further details.
Confident it can vaccinate the U.S. population, the Biden administration has announced plans to ship vaccines overseas to help vaccinate the global population.
Earlier this week, Biden announced the U.S. would send 20 million doses of domestically-authorized vaccines to other countries on top of the 60 million AstraZeneca doses the administration plans to ship overseas once they are cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
Biden said on Friday that he expects the U.S. will be able to produce a billion additional coronavirus vaccines between the second half of 2021 and beginning of 2022.
“We with advanced capabilities have an obligation if we can to provide for the protection of the entire world,” he said.