FSM will lower vaccination goal to enable its stranded citizens to come home

FSM President David Panuelo (file photo)

The FSM is planning to lower its overall COVID-19 vaccination goal and move forward with clearing the MV Chief Mailo.

FSM President David Panuelo, in earlier statements, said that the FSM is targeting a hundred percent vaccination rate before it can repatriate its stranded citizens.

Panuelo, in his message this week, said he is inclined to lower that rate to allow its stranded citizens to come home.

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“I had been saying that we need to achieve a 100% vaccination rate for the FSM to make this happen. A 100% (vaccination) rate is still our nation’s overall target and objective, but per the sound medical advice we have received from the U.S. CDC and the WHO, an overall target of 70% to 80% will be our foundation for the repatriation of our citizens,” Panuelo said.

Meanwhile, this week the FSM received additional vaccines. Panuelo says overall, Chuuk state has administered 1500 doses — the most number of vaccinations compared to the other states.

“On Jan. 27 and Jan. 28, we received an additional 9,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, delivered directly to our States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. As of today, approximately 3,500 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given across our nation,” Panuelo said.

He added that the crew of the MV Chief Mailo has been cleared by the FSM National and State Health teams. Earlier this month, the FSM government reported that one of its crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The government-owned cargo and passenger ship returned to the FSM from the Philippines and is currently docked in Pohnpei.

“The Government will be clearing them for disembarkation into the Federated States of Micronesia after their quarantine is completed. While I cannot give any specific date or timeframe, the ship is likely going to return to Chuuk State sometime in the coming weeks where it will drop off isolation units to strengthen the Chuuk State Government’s COVID-19 capacity,” Panuelo said.

Panuelo says that the FSM National Government is collaborating with the World Health Organization to remove the FSM from the official list of COVID-19 affected countries and territories.