The South Korean authorities have held a drill at Incheon international airport to prepare for the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, ensuring the government’s rollout can begin as planned later in February.
The event on Wednesday was held after South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on officials to ensure they were fully prepared for all eventualities when accepting delivery of the vaccines, including transport issues or a terror attack.
The drill saw military figures and police officers come together to transport a van with a specialized freezer in convoy from the airport, as part of Moon’s mission to ensure the authorities are ready “to accomplish our tasks in the actual process of transport, storage and distribution without any errors.”
South Korea has ordered vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which must be kept at an exceptionally cold temperature. To cope with this requirement, the country constructed containers for Korean Air that can carry up to 60,000 doses of the vaccine for 100 hours. The government has also secured agreements with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme.
Once the doses are in the country, they will be taken to the vaccine centers set up in around 250 gyms and community halls that have had cold storage facilities fitted.
With South Korea in the midst of a third wave of Covid-19, the government has faced criticism for failing to swiftly secure vaccines and begin inoculating citizens. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has reported 78,844 infections and 1,435 fatalities.
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