Palau starts COVID vaccinations today

An Asia Pacific Air cargo flight arrives at the airport in Palau on Saturday, Jan 2. The plane is carrying Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. (From the Palau Ministry of Health)

After receiving its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday morning, Palau government officials announced that it would commence vaccinations today, starting with priority groups.

The Palau Ministry of Health (MOH) received the 2,800 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and accompanying ancillary kits (syringes, masks, and face shields via a chartered cargo flight. 

After receiving the shipment, it was transported for storage at the Belau National Hospital.


Officials pose with the initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Operation Warp Speed/US CDC. (L-R): US Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland, Palau President-elect Surangel Whipps, Jr., Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts, MOH EOC Deputy Incident Commander Gaafar Uherbelau, and Minister of Public Infrastructure, Industries & Commerce Charles Obichang (From Palau Ministry of Health)

According to MOH, vaccinations will be done at the hospital, based on priority. With the limited amount of doses received, MOH announced it would start with health care providers and first responders, key officials, and decision-makers, followed by vulnerable populations.

Vulnerable populations include the elderly (75 years old and over) and people with underlying medical conditions.

The Ministry said it expects to receive more vaccines in the upcoming months. Meanwhile, it will continue to conduct public education and information on vaccination schedules and target groups.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last month. 

Palau received the vaccines from the U.S. through Operation Warp Speed.