Gov’t’s Contract with Moderna Revealed as Shambles


August 18, 2021 11:51

The government’s contract with Moderna was so sloppy that it failed to specify delivery dates for coronavirus vaccines, it was revealed Tuesday, contradicting its claims that the drug maker did not deliver on time.

The government has been suspiciously cagey about the terms and cited alleged confidentiality clauses even while putting the blame for delays squarely on Moderna, but it turns out that Korean negotiators failed to specify when deliveries were to be made.

A Health Ministry official admitted the contract does not hold Moderna to specific delivery dates. “The contract specifies the delivery of 40 million doses a year,” the official told reporters. “But it also stipulates that specific monthly or quarterly shipments are subject to negotiations.”

In other words, it would be no violation of the contract for Moderna to deliver shipments later than Korea hoped.

People wait to see if they have side effects after vaccination in Seoul on Wednesday. /Yonhap

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel last December promised President Moon Jae-in 40 million doses this year. The government claimed these would be arriving “from May,” but so far only 2.46 million doses or 6.1 percent have been delivered.

The government last week said that “less than half” of a promised 8.5 million doses for the third quarter had arrived but did not say how much less.

Government officials visited Moderna’s headquarters in Massachusetts last week and claimed the company “apologized” for the delays, but in reality this seems to have been the occasion for some frantic re-negotiation.

According to the Health Ministry, the Korean delegation held a three-hour meeting with Moderna representatives including chief commercial officer Corrine Le Goff.

Other countries have been perfectly open about their contracts without hiding behind confidentiality clauses. The U.S. government has published its own 53-page contract with Moderna on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services, which clearly shows the amount of doses, prices and period-by-period delivery schedules.

Meanwhile, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 1,805 as of Wednesday morning, while some 23.79 million people or 46.3 percent have had at least their first coronavirus shot but only 14.91 million people or 20.4 percent have been fully vaccinated.

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