President Biden said Friday the U.S. will provide Covid-19 vaccines to 550,000 South Korean troops working in close contact with American forces in the region.
Mr. Biden made the announcement during a news conference at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Both leaders also said they would forge a partnership on vaccine manufacturing, but stopped short of providing details.
“We, with advanced capabilities, have an obligation to do everything we can to provide for protection of the entire world,” Mr. Biden said, while adding he saw the potential to produce another billion vaccine doses from the second half of 2021 and into 2022.
Mr. Moon said there would be a comprehensive partnership between the two countries to boost manufacturing of the vaccine and its materials. Covid-19 vaccine supply has been a priority for Mr. Moon during his four-day visit to Washington, with less than 3% of the South Korean population fully vaccinated.
A senior administration official said the vaccines for South Korean service members would be donated and that Mr. Biden’s decision was part of an effort to protect U.S. troops working in close quarters with their counterparts on the Korean peninsula.