October 23, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Coronavirus: Pacific island nation has achieved nearly 100 percent immunization coverage

Almost 100 percent vaccination against the novel coronavirus species has been achieved in the tiny nation of Palau in Australia and Oceania.

According to official data released on Thursday, more than 99 percent of the local population has received two doses of the anti-cancer vaccine, AFP reports.

According to the Ministry of Health, nearly 15,000 people have been vaccinated out of a total population of about 18,000. In a statement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) praised the “remarkable” vaccination rate, but noted that vaccination rates in other areas of the South Pacific are mixed.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Palau, a republic located about 1,000 kilometers east of the Philippines, could “apply for global leadership in COVID-19 vaccination rates”. It was one of the few countries that managed to prevent the wave of infection by closing its borders in time, despite the heavy economic losses.

A record number of virus cases was broken in August when two people were reported to have returned from the Pacific Northwest island of Guam. Although many people have tested positive at the border since then, there is no spread of the virus in the community.

Gibraltar leads Europe

Gibraltar has the highest vaccination rate in Europe (119 percent) – but that unusual number includes visitors from Spain who can be vaccinated there, AFP explains.

In Palau, where they have been vaccinated with vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, 500 people have already received the third dose.

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“It is important to celebrate the success that many Pacific countries, including Palau, Fiji and the Cook Islands, have had in achieving high vaccination rates,” said Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific office chief. However, she noted, “it is critical that everyone is vaccinated before the hurricane period (November to April),” which can cause damage to homes and infrastructure, potentially compromising the resources and services needed to manage COVID-19.

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) estimates that up to 12 tropical cyclones could strike the southeastern Pacific Ocean from November to April next year.