This photo provided by the US Forces Korea (USFK) on Monday, shows officials moving Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine delivered to Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. (US Forces Korea)
US Forces Korea (USFK) began administering its initial doses of a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to health care workers, first responders, and its command team, including Gen. Robert Abrams, officials said.The first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in South Korea on Friday and had been in cold storage at Camp Carroll in the southeastern county of Chilgok before being distributed to USFK's three military treatment facilities Monday, according to the US military.
The three locations administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are the Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital at the US Army Garrison in Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul; the 51st Medical Group at Osan Air Base in the same city; and the 8th Medical Group at Kunsan Air Base, located in the western city of Gunsan.
"USFK started inoculating military and civilian healthcare workers, first responders and the USFK command team with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today across three USFK medical treatment facilities," the US military said in a statement.
The US Department of Defense earlier chose the USFK headquarters as one of four sites outside the continental United States to receive the initial vaccinations.
The exact number of doses is not immediately known.
Following this initial phase of inoculations, additional vaccine shipments will arrive in South Korea to become available for those eligible and who choose to receive it, USFK said. It did not announce any related timetable.
The Moderna vaccine was authorized for emergency use earlier this month and taking a vaccine is not mandatory but voluntary.
But Abrams said, "I strongly encourage all eligible individuals to receive the vaccine."
"The COVID-19 vaccine is another tool that will help USFK maintain a robust combined defensive posture and our 'Fight Tonight' readiness approach," he said. (Yonhap)