Marshall Islands President David Kabua received his Covid vaccine from Majuro hospital nurse Harry Harry in late January, becoming one of over 70% of adults living in Majuro to be vaccinated. Photo by Giff Johnson

MAJURO, 12 APRIL 2021 (MARIANAS VARIETY)—The Marshall Islands is a world-leading nation in the race to get its population vaccinated for Covid.
Nearly three out of every four adults in the two urban centers of Majuro and Ebeye had received their first dose of the Moderna Covid vaccine as of last Friday, and slightly over half of all adults had received both shots, according to the Ministry of Health and Human Services in a report last Friday.
Majuro and Ebeye were priority target populations for the Ministry of Health. But now, with additional vaccines arriving, it is scheduling Covid vaccine trips to Jaluit and Wotje later this month, to launch the vaccination programme in remote outer islands.
The Marshall Islands is getting plenty of help from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which on Friday delivered 10,000 doses of the new Johnson and Johnson brand Covid vaccine, a single-shot vaccine, that will be used for most outer islands. In addition, CDC announced Tuesday it was giving the Marshall Islands US$1,248,812 to support local efforts to increase vaccine uptake by expanding Covid-19 vaccine programmes.
While the Covid vaccine is being provided on a voluntary basis, there are discussions now within the ministry’s Public Health Department about changing this for people who are in “front line” type positions or who are at high risk of potential exposure and transmission should the virus reach Marshall Islands.
The ministry is currently discussing the possibility of making Covid vaccination mandatory for people serving in public capacities, such as healthcare workers, teachers, food servers and taxi drivers and others who serve the public on a daily basis.
With the arrival of 10,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses this weekend, the ministry can fully rollout its outer islands vaccine program. It has also been receiving over 10,000 Moderna vaccines each month.
“Once this shipment arrives this weekend of 10,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines we will have all the vaccines needed on island to vaccinate our entire adult population here on Majuro, on Ebeye and on the outer islands,” said Secretary Jack Niedenthal. “This puts us ahead of most places in the world….PACNEWS

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