Palikir, Pohnpei— Getting Covid-19 vaccines is now mandatory for all eligible citizens in the Federated States of Micronesia, President David Panuelo announced Thursday.
Government employees who fail to comply with the vaccine mandate within 30 days will be placed on leave without pay.
The president ordered the national Covid-19 Task Force to intensify the nationwide vaccination effort.
“The FSM still has so much work to do to conquer the pandemic, and so I applaud the Honorable Wesley W. Simina, Speaker of the 22nd FSM Congress, the Honorable Ferny S. Perman, Chair of the Congressional Committee on Health & Social Affairs, and all honorable senator for their leadership on this issue, and for taking actions today for our nation’s prosperity," Panuelo said in a statement.
The FSM remains under public health emergency until Sept. 30.
"This paradise in our backyards can, and must, and will, overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and emerge stronger,” the president said in a statement after receiving a congressional resolution that amended the public health emergency declaration.
As of July 25, 49.6 percent of the eligible adult population in the FSM have been fully vaccinated.
The FSM's target is to get 70 percent of its eligible population inoculated.
The congressional resolution states, “Government employees or workers hired to assist the national and state government with essential services are among the categories of individuals eligible for repatriation efforts, in addition to the historical categories of medical patients and capacity-building personnel."
This means, non-medical professionals, including teachers, consultants and engineers are eligible for entry into the FSM on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Covid-19 Task Force, officials said. The resolution also allows citizens who had “been infected with Covid-19 in the past but had since fully recovered" to be eligible for repatriation provided they are determined to be non-infectious.
Every arriving citizen is required to be vaccinated and must test negative prior to arrival.