The US military launched a coronavirus vaccine operation for personnel stationed in South Korea on Tuesday as health officials in Seoul reported the country’s highest daily death toll since the pandemic began.
US Forces Korea said in a statement that it began administering the first doses of the Moderna vaccine to military personnel, civilian healthcare workers, first responders and command staff in three of its medical facilities, CBS News reported.
The US military has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea to protect American interests from the threat of North Korea.
USFK Commander Robert Abrams said while the vaccine is voluntary, he strongly encouraged members of the service to get a shot.
“I want you to make an informed decision for you and your family regarding the vaccine,” said Abrams, who was pictured wearing a T-shirt with the words “#KilltheVirus” as he got the vaccine.
South Korea is one of four overseas locations to get the Moderna vaccine.
The pharmaceutical company, along with Pfizer, produced the only two vaccines that have received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
South Korea on Tuesday said that it had a record 40 deaths from the coronavirus – the highest since late January – as a third surge of the disease swept across the country bringing 1,046 new cases.
There are more than 58,000 cases in South Korea and 859 people have died from COVID-19.
Seoul said it will begin vaccinating health-care workers and the most vulnerable in February.
And South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office announced that it is negotiating with Moderna to provide enough doses to inoculate 20 million people.
With that deal, South Korea will have arranged for coverage for 56 million people – 4 million more than the country’s population.
With Post Wires
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