Palau, the tiny Pacific nation, has the world’s highest percentage of people vaccinated against Covid-19, with more than 99 per cent of the eligible population fully protected, the Red Cross said on Thursday. The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) said 99 per cent of Palau’s population over 12 has had both shots of the Covid-19 vaccine as it praised what it said was the country’s “remarkable” pace of vaccination.
The Red Cross cited Palau government figures which show that 16,152 people out of its population of about 18,000 have been given the Covid-19 jab. “It is important to celebrate the success of reaching high vaccination rates in many Pacific countries, including Palau, Fiji and the Cook Islands,” Katie Greenwood, the head of the IFRC’s Pacific office, said. However, Greenwood added it was “critical that we try to get everyone vaccinated ahead of the cyclone season, which threatens to damage homes and infrastructure, stretching resources and services needed to contain Covid-19”.
According to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, there could be up to 12 tropical cyclones in the Southwest Pacific between November and next April.
The body said in a statement that Palau, an archipelago of 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, is in the “top spot” and ahead of countries like Portugal, which was named one of the world’s most vaccinated countries when 80 per cent of its 10 million people were fully immunised in September.
The Red Cross also said that other Pacific nations are leading the world in vaccination rates, on a per capita basis. The Cook Islands with a population of 17,000 had 96 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and Fiji, which has 896,000 people, has given one dose to 96 per cent of the country’s eligible people, it said.
However, other small countries in the region—the Solomon Islands with a population of 650,000 and Kiribati with a population of 119,000—have inoculated less than 10 per cent of their people against Covid-19. It also cited Our World in Data figures to add that Papua New Guinea has less than 1 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.
(With agency inputs)
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com