The Marshall Islands became the first independent nation in the Pacific region to begin Covid-19 vaccinations on Tuesday as a group of high-ranking Marshall Islands leaders joined with Ministry of Health doctors and nurses to be the first to receive the United States government-provided vaccines.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) delivered to Majuro an initial batch of 1,200 vaccines Tuesday morning and the Ministry of Health wasted little time, rolling out the vaccine launch the same afternoon.

“We are getting vaccinated at the same time as people in the United States,” said Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal. “It is a great thing the US government is doing for us. This is a great day for all of us.”

“The worst of times could become the best of times,” said Taiwan Ambassador Jeffrey Hsiao at the vaccine launch. “With the arrival of the vaccines, the Marshall Islands is passing out of darkness into hope for the New Year.”

The US government also delivered a similar number of vaccines to the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. Both countries will launch their Covid vaccine drives in January.

All three nations that share a free association relationship with Washington chose the Moderna brand vaccine over Pfizer because it is logistically easier for these remote islands to handle, said Niedenthal.


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