Health Minister Gaafar Uherbelau said all COVID-19 vaccination initiatives were suspended while they planned for a new rollout of the booster. 

“So if you’ve seen in the news lately, US FDA and CDC have announced that the Omicron specific vaccine will be available starting this week. 

He said the planning is ongoing with the mass vaccine team and the new schedule will come out to inform the public of when and where they can get their next round of boosters.

The new boosters, authorized for people ages 12 and older is targeting the highly contagious and immune-evasive omicron BA.5 subvariant and original strain of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

In the US, it was announced that the new boosters would roll out in time for the fall as the incoming winter could increase infections.

Minister Uherbelau also reminded people to stay vigilant against COVID-19.

“COVID is still around, and we want to make sure that we are as safe as we can be,” he said.

He added that although Palau eased restrictions in terms of entry requirements and some of the mask mandates,  health authorities continue to promote individual awareness and responsibility.

“Especially for those in the community that has underlying medical conditions or may be residing with someone who is vulnerable for severe COVID. We just want to keep that reminder in place for people to be careful and to be wary, and to practice the preventive measures as much as they can.” (Island Times)

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