DVIDS – News – US Department of Health and Human Services administers COVID-19 vaccines in Republic of Palau


KOROR, Palau –– US Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) are currently in the Republic of Palau to assist the Department of
Health to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the local population.

“The team is there to increase the vaccination POD of the Ministry of Health of Palau in
National gymnasium. We are a small contingent of a greater critical trauma
care team made up of 200 clinical and non-clinical staff, “
said Phil Nix, the HHS trauma intensive care team commander.
“Our primary mission is to respond to public health emergencies and
disasters. This past year, however, we have taken care of
COVID-19 patients in the United States ”

ROP remains one of the few countries in the world that does not have COVID-19
infections. For the HHS team, this assignment is a welcome departure from the
missions they performed last year.

“We have deployed to hot spots in the United States that have been stretched
to their limits in fighting COVID-19. So far we have seen the
sickest of the sick COVID-19 patients, many of whom were fighting for their
lives on ventilators, ”said Cecily Wang, an HHS surgeon. “Palau is unique
COVID-19 free, and we want to make sure it stays that way. We want
vaccinate as many people as possible to ensure the population of this country
do not experience what we “saw during our missions in the United States”, she

“In addition to administering vaccines, we will also conduct knowledge
exchanges with the Ministry of Health of Palau to discuss lessons learned from our
experiences in the United States to ensure that the local Department of Health is better prepared for
whatever might happen in the future, ”Wang added.

It takes a coordinated effort from all levels of government to ensure that Palau
remains COVID-19 free.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic began around January 2020, the MS
was able to set up our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and started
implementation of a point of entry control to prevent the arrival of COVID-19 in
Palau, ”said Gaafar Uherbelau, deputy incident commander of MOH EOC.
“We have also canceled all flights from areas of concern. Suspend these
the flights have prevented COVID-19 from reaching our shores. Implement these
measures required the cooperation of all levels of government.

Uherbelau recognizes the effect of COVID-19 on
economy but stressed the importance of security.

“The Ministry of Health gives priority to the health of the citizens of Palau”. We will always be
advise on the strictest strategies to prevent arrival and community
transmission of COVID-19. We understand that the restrictions have had a
huge impact on the economy, but the transmission and spread of COVID
19 would only further exacerbate the current economic problems, ”Uherbelau said.

“Palau is really lucky to have such a good relationship with the United States unlike
other Pacific island countries currently struggling to get enough
COVID-19 vaccines for their people. With the help of the United States, we will
be able to immunize 80% of the population, ”Uherbelau said.

COVID-19 remains a global challenge that no country can tackle alone – our
a strong network of alliances and partnerships is essential to tackle this
virus. The US Army and TF Oceania, in partnership with HHS, US
Embassies and other partners are up and running
responsible in Oceania.

Date taken: 05.10.2021
Date posted: 05.10.2021 16:24
Story ID: 396033
Location: PW

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