SEOUL-- President Moon Jae-in on Friday visited a public health center in Seoul to observe the vaccination process against COVID-19, as the nation started a mass inoculation program against the pandemic over a year after its first confirmed case.

More than 5,000 health care workers and patients aged under 65 at some 5,800 long-term care facilities across the nation began receiving the first doses of novel coronavirus vaccines at 9 a.m.

Moon visited the public health center of Seoul's Mapo Ward to observe the vaccination process and spoke with the first vaccine recipient there. The first recipient at the center was Kim Yoon-tae, head of the Purme Foundation Nexon Children's Rehabilitation Hospital in Seoul.

The president asked Kim whether it would be OK to observe "the historic first inoculation" and Kim replied, "It would be an honor."

The president also received a briefing on the government vaccination plan by Jeong Eun-kyeong, the director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, and inspected the center's vaccine-related facilities, including the preparation room and the adverse reaction observation room.

Moon also asked questions on how to handle unexpected situations related to vaccinations, such as what do to when running a fever ahead of a scheduled inoculation or whether to contact health centers when feeling strange after receiving the shots.

The president also shared a message on social media on the government's vaccination campaign. "The vaccination process was sufficient enough to offer credibility to the people and the post management process was also reassuring," Moon wrote.

He also asked the public to maintain strict adherence to the government's social distancing measures while stating that "the spring for recovery and growth has come near."

Cheong Wa Dae said Moon's visit was arranged to encourage the medical workers who were committed to the vaccine campaign and also to ask the public to actively participate in the inoculation program.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, an inoculation date for Moon has not been decided and will likely be arranged in accordance with the government's vaccine program.

Source: Yonhap News Agency