SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry said Sunday it transported a batch of COVID-19 vaccines to Ulleung Island in the East Sea to help inoculate local residents, where access through commercial transportation is relatively time consuming and difficult.
The ministry said a batch of AstraZeneca's vaccine from the government's vaccine storage warehouse left Icheon, some 80 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and arrived at a Navy base on Ulleung via a CH-47D military transportation helicopter.
After its landing, the vaccine shipment was delivered to the Ulleung County's public health center escorted by police and Navy vehicles.
Authorities initially planned on delivering the vaccines via the sea but later opted to use a helicopter in consideration of the weather conditions and distance.
"I hope the vaccines delivered today can help with the herd immunity formation of the people of Ulleung," Air Force Maj. Cho Sung-mo, a helicopter pilot, said.
Vaccine-related authorities plan to actively use air transportation in delivering vaccines in cases where access may be limited due to factors such as weather conditions.
On Friday, South Korea launched its first vaccination campaign starting with health care workers and patients at nursing facilities and hospitals across the nation with the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca.
The KCDA said 20,322 people across the country had received their first shots of the vaccines as of Saturday.
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