Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM H1N1 Mass Vaccination Campaign

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): October 20, 2009 - The H1N1 Influenza strain (Swine Flu) that was found in other parts of the world earlier this year is now found in the FSM. In addition, the regular flu is affecting the FSM today and we are seeing high absenteeism at work, school, and other meaningful engagements due to this illness. Clearly, these two phenomenons, coupled with heightened fear of the H1N1 pandemic, have interrupted the normal course of life throughout the Nation.

To respond to this problem, the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the State Department of Health Services, will implement a Mass Vaccination Campaign (MVC) throughout the country starting in late November through the early part of 2010. This campaign will include vaccinating individuals most vulnerable for H1N1 and related complications. The target individuals to receive the H1N1 vaccines are people under twenty-four (24) years of age, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases or conditions. These are standard target individuals as set forth in recommendations from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Starting this month (October 2009) FSM will receive its share of the H1N1 vaccines from the US CDC to vaccinate all targeted individuals. It should be pointed out that children less than 10 years old will require two vaccines. Therefore, two trips to the outer islands will need to be planned into the campaign.

To begin with, the campaign will kick off in November to coincide with the MS Voyager's trip from Pohnpei to Yap in mid November 2009. If approved, the plan is to pick up the cost of returning the MS Voyager from Yap through the Western islands of Chuuk to Weno. From Weno, the MS Voyager will stop on all of the Mortlocks islands, and then to the outer islands of Pohnpei before terminating in Pohnpei Island. A repeat of the same travel configuration above will be planned after two months from the time of the first dose administration, which is around January 2010.

In terms of manpower to deliver the vaccine to the targeted population, the public health staff in the FSM states is experienced in administering mass vaccinations. The plan is to utilize the same approach as was done before, with strengthened coordination and support from the National level. People can receive the H1N1 vaccines at the public health clinics or mobile teams will take the vaccines to the communities, including the schools. The homebound will also be visited by mobile public health team as part of the outreach plan.

The FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs has received enough funds from the US Department of Health and Human Services to implement the campaign in its entirety. Cost for co sharing the MS Voyager twice is in the budget for the Department, including cost for side travel on the smaller planes and the surveillance boats, if necessary, so there is a lot of confidence that the entire campaign will be carried out.

The FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs is undertaking a public awareness campaign on the vaccine to make sure the public understands the need to vaccinate the target individuals first. The staff of the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs will work with the state appropriate personnel to get the information out to the public about the campaign and the vaccine itself.

If you have any questions on the campaign, please contact your local State Department of Health.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356