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US Forces Korea begins administering thousands of doses of J&J’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine

A 51st Fighter Wing airman receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Osan Air Base, South Korea, Thursday, March 11, 2021.

MATTHEW KEELER/STARS AND STRIPES

By JOSEPH DITZLER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 11, 2021

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The U.S. military in South Korea said it received 9,700 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday and started to administer it immediately.

Twenty percent of the 58,000 people in the U.S. Forces Korea community were already inoculated when the new doses, also called the Janssen vaccine, arrived, command spokesman Col. Lee Peters said Thursday on American Forces Network Radio.

On Friday, inoculations will come to the next group of individuals in the Defense Department priority list at Camp Humphreys: DOD faculty and staff, Army and Air Force Exchange Service and commissary workers, bus drivers and other customer-facing employees, Peters said. Vaccines should come to Osan Air Base on Friday and Daegu Garrison next week.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, approved for emergency use Feb. 27 by the Food and Drug Administration, is a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19, the coronavirus respiratory disease, according to Peters and USFK command surgeon Col. Douglas Lougee.

“I’m excited to talk about vaccines anytime,” Lougee said on the program. “This is the time to hit back at this virus that’s destroyed our lives this past year.”

He said the vaccine is safe and effective and encouraged everyone to get inoculated, although pregnant women should first consult with their doctors.

Lougee said the Johnson & Johnson shot provides its full protection 28 days after inoculation. Afterward, he said, “your chance of getting COVID is less than getting hit by lightning.”

USFK on Thursday reported that nine new cases of COVID-19, all among new arrivals to the peninsula, were discovered between Feb. 22 and Monday.

Four service members arrived Feb. 22 and 24 and Monday at Osan Air Base aboard the Patriot Express, a government-contracted passenger service. Another four service members and a contractor arrived Feb. 23, March 4 and 5 at Incheon International Airport.

Six tested positive upon arrival and before entering quarantine; three came up positive on the test required to exit the mandatory 14-day quarantine, according to USFK.

In Japan, Tokyo reported 335 newly infected people Thursday, according to public broadcaster NHK. The average number of people becoming infected each day over the past week is up to 273.1 and trending higher, according to metro government data. Tokyo has reported 114,536 coronavirus cases during the pandemic.

U.S. military bases in Japan reported two new coronavirus cases Thursday.

At Naval Air Facility Atsugi, southeast of Tokyo, one person tested positive prior to exiting the restricted movement period required of new arrivals to Japan and returning travelers, base spokesman Sam Samuelson told Stars and Stripes by phone.

The Marine Corps had one person at Camp Foster on Okinawa test positive Wednesday, according to a base Facebook post.

ditzler.joseph@stripes.com
Twitter: @JosephDitzler

 

Doses of the one-shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson were administered to troops at Osan Air Base, South Korea, Thursday, March 11, 2021.
MATTHEW KEELER/STARS AND STRIPES