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Korea Economic Institute of America Presents:

South Korea as a Global Vaccine Hub

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Event Date

October 27th 3:00pm - 4:00pm ET

Event Location

Livestream via YouTube

Thomas Byrne
President & CEO
The Korea Society
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Claire Callahan
Communications Officer
The Korea Society
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Irene Kyoung
Research Associate, Korea Program
Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University
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Salome Da Silva Duarte Lepez
International Health Law, COVID Vaccine Policy & Biostatistics
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MPH ’22
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Clint Work
Fellow and Director of Academic Affairs
Korea Economic Institute of America
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Event Poster
Key Points

Here are some takeaways from the event:

  • The scramble to adopt countermeasures to the Covid-19 pandemic revealed significant challenges to vaccine access not just for advanced countries like South Korea but especially for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Despite the prevalence of the blanket term “vaccine hub” among the public and policymakers, the authors identify two distinct types of vaccine hub: the “WHO vaccine hub” and “global vaccine hub,” both of which aim to address problems with vaccine equity globally.
  • By becoming a global vaccine hub, South Korea seeks to establish itself as a key center of vaccine development, manufacturing, and training, allowing the country to play a crucial role in bolstering global public health capacities, particularly in LMICs.


Event Description

Early in the pandemic, South Korea drew widespread praise for the speed and efficiency of its response to slowing the spread of the virus and saving lives. However, despite this initial success, South Korea faced vaccine nationalism and other access challenges in its effort to secure Covid-19 vaccines. Spurred by these challenges, South Korea established a national strategic policy to become a global vaccine hub, not only to meet the current and future public health needs of its own population but also to assist low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) facing even starker obstacles in accessing safe and effective vaccines.

Please join KEI for a discussion with the Thomas Byrne, Claire Callahan, Irene Kyoung, and Salome Da Silva Duarte Lepez about how global vaccine access and equity was hindered by the shortcomings of national and bilateral vaccine diplomacy and multilateral mechanisms during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how South Korea’s demonstrated capabilities to rise as global vaccine development, manufacturing and training hub will help bolster global public health capacities in the future.