SYDNEY, Oct. 14 (Reuters) – The small Pacific nation of Palau has the world’s highest percentage of people vaccinated against COVID-19, the Red Cross said Thursday, urging the country’s lagging neighbors to follow its lead and to intensify incolation efforts.
99% of Palau’s population over the age of 12 has received both vaccines against the novel coronavirus, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said, citing government figures which also show that this represents 16,152 people. .
This puts Palau, an archipelago of 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, in “first place,” the IFRC said in a statement, ahead of countries like Portugal, which has been named one of the world’s top countries. most vaccinated in the world while 80% of its 10 million people were fully vaccinated last month. Read more
It also presents a stark contrast to other small countries in the region which have experienced slow vaccine deployments due to supply constraints and public reluctance. Less than 10% of the Solomon Islands (650,000 inhabitants) and Kiribati (119,000 inhabitants) are vaccinated, the IFRC said.
In Papua New Guinea, 150 km (93 miles) north of Australia, less than 1% of the population is fully vaccinated, he added, citing figures from Our World in Data. Read more
The urgency to increase vaccination rates in the region has been heightened by the upcoming cyclone season in the Pacific, which could cause more damage to livelihoods already affected by the pandemic, the IFRC said.
Palau was not alone among the Pacific countries that dominate the world in terms of vaccination rates, per capita. The Cook Islands (17,000) had 96% of its eligible population fully vaccinated, while Fiji (896,000) had 96% of those eligible with a single dose, the IFRC said.
Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan
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