Moon's office made the remarks at a meeting of a public-private committee designed to explore ways to boost vaccine production amid global supply shortages and shipment delays.
Moon plans to designate COVID-19 vaccines as one of three national strategic technologies, along with semiconductors and batteries. To those ends, his government aims to increase investment, provide tax breaks and facilitate other incentives to help firms localize materials and equipment.
Pharmaceuticals Announce Production of Sputnik V in South Korea
Moon told the meeting, "We will strive to take a leap forward to become one of the top five global vaccine producers by 2025."
The initiative also aims to train 200 new medical scientists, 10,000 clinical trial professionals, and 2,000 bioproduction workers every year.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-Cheol clarified the funding would support the development of homegrown vaccines, including obtaining original technology for mRNA products.
Kwon said that seven local manufacturers would begin the third phase of clinical trials in the latter half of this year, starting with SK Bioscience this month.
Kwon told a press briefing that "currently the front-running candidate is (SK Bioscience's) protein-based vaccine, which we will work to distribute for public use early next year."
South Korea's president also seeks to expand international cooperation through vaccine partnerships with Germany, Britain, and other countries and bring in foreign investment and companies.
He and U.S. President Joe Biden recently clinched a partnership combining U.S. vaccine expertise with Korean production capacity at a recent summit in May.
Facing pressure at home over a fourth COVID-19 wave and a slowed immunization campaign, Moon has made vaccine production a key priority for the remainder of his term, ending in March 2022.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), just 39.6% of the country's 52 million population has received at least one shot, and 14.4% of Koreans have been fully vaccinated.
Despite strict distancing requirements to halt the virus amid the summer vacation season and the rise of the contagious Delta variant, the KDCA reported 1,776 cases for Wednesday. For that reason, South Korea aims to get its vaccination statistics up to 70%, or 36 million people, by September.