The  Red Cross said on Thursday,  Palau, the tiny Pacific nation, has the world’s highest percentage of people vaccinated against Covid-19, with more than 99 % of the eligible population fully protected,.

The Red Cross cited Palau government figures which show that 16,152 people out of its population of about 18,000 have been given the Covid-19jab.

The International Federation of Red Cross said 99 % of Palau’s population over 12 has had both shots of the Covid-19 vaccine as it praised what it said was the country’s “remarkable” pace of vaccination.

Katie Greenwood, the head of the IFRC’s Pacific office, said,”It is important to celebrate the success of reaching high vaccination rates in many Pacific countries, including Palau, Fiji and the Cook Islands”.

 According to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, there could be up to 12 tropical cyclones in the Southwest Pacific between November and next April.

 Greenwood added it was “critical that we try to get everyone vaccinated ahead of the cyclone season, which threatens to damage homes and infrastructure, stretching resources and services needed to contain Covid-19”.

The body said in a statement that Palau, an archipelago of 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, is in the “top spot” and ahead of countries like Portugal, which was named one of the world’s most vaccinated countries when 80 % of its 10 million people were fully immunised in September.

Other  small countries in the region the Solomon Islands with a population of 650,000 and Kiribati with a population of 119,000 have inoculated less than 10 %  of their people against Covid-19. It also cited Our World in Data figures to add that Papua New Guinea has less than 1 % of its population fully vaccinated.

 The Cook Islands with a population of 17,000 had 96 % of its eligible population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and Fiji, which has 896,000 people, has given one dose to 96 % of the country’s eligible people, it said.

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