Easter Island begins vaccinating residents against Covid-19

SANTIAGO (AFP) – Authorities on Easter Island began vaccinating residents against Covid-19 on Monday (Feb 8), distributing 120 doses on the first day.

Situated 3,500 kilometres off Chile’s coast, the island – renowned for its ancient, giant humanoid monoliths – has not reported a single coronavirus case in more than 300 days.

Medical personnel and people aged over 80 were the first to receive the jabs, Easter Island mayor Pedro Edmunds told AFP.

He added that authorities estimate 8,000 people will be immunised, about 80 per cent of the island’s 10,000 people.

Shipments of the vaccine produced by Chinese laboratory Sinovac arrived on Thursday aboard the Chilean island’s weekly supply plane.

The island will receive a total of 16,000 doses, and the vaccination process will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday for people over 70.

While mainland Chile has recorded 755,000 cases of Covid-19, with more than 19,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, Easter Island has not recorded a single case in more than 300 days after suspending all tourist visits.

“We haven’t had Covid for 312 days thanks to a decision the community supported to close the island,” Mr Edmunds said.

With no tourism, the island’s main economic sector, the island’s inhabitants have had to turn to an ancient Polynesian tradition based on taking care of oneself and sharing resources within the community.

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