SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea is considering sending COVID-19 vaccines for booster shots to its troops abroad, officials said Friday, amid concerns over breakthrough infections and the omicron variant.
It initially sought the local supply of additional vaccines needed for booster jabs.
But it has begun consultations with the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on the direct provision of vaccines, as they may not be readily available in some areas and there may be shortage of medical facilities, they said.
South Korea has a total of around 1,000 troops stationed in the Dongmyeong unit in Lebanon, the Hanbit unit in South Sudan, the Akh unit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Cheonghae unit on anti-piracy missions off the coast of Africa.
The military launched the booster program in South Korea earlier this week with a plan to inoculate around 400,000 people by mid-January. Many members of the Cheonghae unit were diagnosed with COVID-19 and airlifted home in July.
South Korea’s military, meanwhile, reported 23 additional COVID-19 cases Friday, including 22 breakthrough infections, raising the total caseload among its personnel to 2,871.
Of the new cases, 16 people are from the Army, two from the Air Force, two from the Navy and two from units under the direct control of the defense ministry, officials said. An officer of the defense ministry was also infected.
Currently, 344 military personnel are under treatment. Of the total military caseload, 1,101 are breakthrough cases.