FSM Information Services
President Panuelo Implements Decree Mandating All Individuals & Organizations Receiving Money from the FSM National Government to Show Evidence of COVID-19 Vaccination
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On August 10th, 2021, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—signed a decree to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination pursuant to Congressional Resolution 22-33. As the Resolution mandated that all FSM citizens residing in the FSM must receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the President determined that the best way for the Nation to enforce the mandate is to require individuals and organizations to produce documentary evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status in order to receive checks from the FSM National Government. Additionally, the decree instructs the FSM COVID-19 Task Force to develop and implement a means of vaccinating all eligible citizens, and to develop a strategy for vaccinating principals, teachers, and children aged 12-17 when appropriate.
From Monday, August 9th, 2021, all individuals and organizations receiving financial assistance from the FSM National Government—except for recipients of FSM Social Security checks, as detailed below—must provide evidence that they and every person in their organization has been vaccinated.
From Monday August 30th, 2021, all recipients of FSM Social Security checks throughout the Nation must provide documentation of their completed vaccination status to receive their check.
From Monday August 30th, 2021, all individuals who work for the National Government in any capacity—as public servants, as political appointees, as elected officials, as consultants—must provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination to the FSM COVID-19 Task Force and the Office of Personnel. If such documentation is not present, then all individuals not vaccinated shall be placed on Leave Without Pay until such a time that they become vaccinated.
“In simple language,” President Panuelo said in a statement, “If you receive any money from the FSM National Government, you need to have proof that you are vaccinated against COVID-19. Whether you’re a business owner receiving FSM Economic Stimulus Package funding, a public servant waiting for Payday Wednesday, a retiree collecting Social Security—to continue receiving financial assistance, you need to show proof of your vaccination. It is my responsibility as your President to enforce the mandate given by the 22nd FSM Congress, and I intend to uphold it fully, because the vaccines are safe, the vaccines are effective, and the vaccines are how we will emerge from a COVID-19 free country to a COVID-19 protected country.”
As of August 10th, 2021, approximately 52% of the Nation’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, meaning that for the eight months the FSM has had access to COVID-19 vaccines approximately 31,000 out of 58,699 eligible individuals have been fully vaccinated. Millions of dollars have been spent on outreach and awareness programs, either directly or indirectly through grants to organizations, on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine as the Nation’s means of emerging stronger from the Pandemic.
Although it remains the Nation’s intent to use the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for vaccinating children when the vaccines become fully approved for such use, the FSM is expecting receipt of its first doses of the Pfizer vaccine—which is already authorized for use in children—in the coming days, in addition to a three-member team from the United States of America who arrived in the State of Kosrae on August 10th. The Department of Health & Social Affairs has reported to President Panuelo that the Pfizer vaccine doesn’t require ultra-freeze capacity anymore, and so the FSM is advised that it can receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“I thank the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (US CDC),” President Panuelo said in a statement, “For their ongoing efforts in keeping our Nation COVID-19 free. I received the same briefings the U.S. President received on January 28th, 2020, about the novel coronavirus, and I am convinced that information has helped to keep us COVID-19 free. The FSM was one of the first countries in the World to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and when we look at how countries without the vaccine are faring, I emphasize again the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine in keeping each of us safe.”
“The fact is,” the President continued, “Our internal quarantine systems are not perfect. Sooner or later they will buckle. We recently had a breach in the State of Chuuk, where two Chuuk State police officers went onboard a newly acquired vessel; the two officers are currently held in quarantine in Chuuk, and the National Government is reviewing further steps to ensure future breaches do not occur, including taking legal action against those who break quarantine protocols. Further, as my delegation to the United States and I are presently back in the FSM and now in quarantine ourselves, I am keenly aware of the groups of people gathering at the MMA facility in Pohnpei State—from the food brought last night where a dozen-some people within the MMA area ate together without wearing masks, to the groups of people smoking in front of the containerized isolation units kindly donated by the People’s Republic of China. The good news is that everyone who arrived in Pohnpei just yesterday have been tested negative again and are fully vaccinated—but unless EVERYONE gets vaccinated at the nearest opportunity, it’s only a matter of time before we see the virus come into our country. The vaccine is our best and most permanent way out of this Pandemic.”
The President’s decree may be found here: https://gov.fm/files/Decree_to_implement_mandatory_vaccination_pursuant_to_Congressional_Resolution.pdf