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Defense minister vows to ensure safe vaccine inoculation

Defense 16:00 February 22, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Suh Wook ordered the military Monday to ensure safe distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the country as South Korea is set to launch vaccine administration later this week.

Suh made the remark during a videoconference with top commanders held to check the final preparations for the planned transport of COVID-19 vaccines and to decide on guidelines on carrying out the mission, according to the ministry.

"A prompt and safe delivery of vaccines is a mission the public has assigned to all of us with trust and it is also a foothold for a successful vaccination," the minister said. "We should guarantee safe vaccine administration to restore people's peaceful day-to-day life as early as possible."

Last month, the ministry launched a vaccine distribution task force to manage the transportation and distribution of the vaccines, in cooperation with the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the National Police Agency and other related entities.

South Korea will begin the inoculation program with AstraZeneca's vaccines Friday, with the first jabs to be administered to staff members and patients under the age of 65 at nursing hospitals and facilities, followed by Pfizer shots for front-line medical workers the next day.

The country has secured enough coronavirus vaccines to inoculate 79 million people, higher than its population of 51.6 million, with an aim to achieve herd immunity by November.

On Monday, South Korea reported 332 new infections, raising the total caseload to 87,324.

A truck carrying COVID-19 vaccines is loaded onto an Air Force airplane at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Feb. 19, 2021, before it flies to Jeju airport on South Korea's largest island of the same name in a mock drill. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


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