MAJURO (ABC) — Marshall Islands, the first country to start vaccinating its citizens against COVID-19, has nearly inoculated a third of its adult population.

Health secretary Jack Niedenthal said 8000 people had received their first jab of the Moderna vaccine and 1700 had been given the second dose.

“We’re now going house to house…anyone over 18 who wants a vaccine can get it,” he said.

“We’ve been really successful so far…it’s been really well received by the community”.

The programme began in late December with several prominent leaders among the first to be vaccinated including the Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice, Health Minister and Niedenthal himself.

“It was a big rollout, a lot of people were there, we had food and we made it into a big event and that really helped a lot”.

The vaccination efforts have so far focused on major urban populations in the capital Majuro and on Ebeye Island.

Niedenthal says health authorities are waiting for a single-dose vaccine to be approved before expanding to more remote communities.

“For us to do the outer islands with two doses is not only logistically very, very hard to do but it’s also going to be very expensive,” he said…. PACNEWS

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