Good evening. It was a big day in this country today.
South Korea shipped its first doses of a coronavirus vaccine transferring AstraZeneca vaccines from a production facility in the country to a warehouse outside the capital of Seoul gearing up for the nationwide inoculation drive set to kick off in less than 48 hours from now at 9 AM sharp on Friday.
The first of the AstraZeneca shots enough for about 750-thousand people were distributed from a production facility of SK bioscience to a distribution center where our very own Choi Wonjong joins us live. Wonjong, you've been there the whole day. Fill us in.
Conn-young, let me just start by saying today was a historic day that many people in Korea have been looking forward to.
South Korea's first COVID-19 vaccines, developed by AstraZeneca.. and made by SK Bioscience, were delivered this afternoon to this vaccine distribution center in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do Province.
Today's delivery, just part of the total amount, contained 1.5 million doses, enough for 750-thousand people.
They'll get their shots during a four-day process from Thursday to Sunday.
The nation's health authorities are closely monitoring the situation so that vaccinations start smoothly.
"With the vaccines being delivered today, our nation is starting its historic first vaccinations on Friday. Finally, we are taking our first step toward the somewhat normal lives that we've all been looking forward to."
The delivery truck arrived at this distribution center this afternoon at around 12:30, Korea time.
The container with the vaccines was moved to the warehouse after a check on its temperature and a count of the contents. The whole delivery process was completed at around 1:20 PM Korea time.
Won-jong, we saw that the vaccine transfer mobilized various security forces all throughout just as it had been during the drills. Why the heavy security presence?
That's right, Conn-young.
The whole vaccine delivery process was under very heavy security and a high level of caution.
On the way here, we saw groups of police officers standing by at almost every traffic light.
And the delivery truck was escorted by police cars both in front and back.
"We made sure the vaccine delivery truck was not disturbed by terror attacks or accidents involving other cars."
He also credited the mock delivery drills conducted ahead of time with ensuring that the two-hour delivery process from Andong to Icheon went smoothly.
Along with many police officers, the distribution center is being protected by firefighters as well as armed personnel from the military.
Like I said, these vaccine batches will be stored at this distribution center just for a day.
They'll be sent to local health centers and nursing facilities nationwide starting at 5:30 AM tomorrow morning.
And they'll be administered to staff and residents under the age of 65, which is more than 280-thousand people.
Reporting live from Icheon, back to studio, Conn-young.