A group of islands in the Pacific Ocean that is one of the few areas on Earth completely free from Covid-19 could become one of the first nations vaccinated against the virus. The Republic of Palau, an archipelago residence to about 18,000 people, got its first cargo of the vaccine produced by US pharmaceutical firm Moderna on January 2, 2021. Shots started the following day, Palau’s Ministry of Health said on Twitter. The first consignment has 2,800 doses of the vaccine which will be administered into two shots, 28 days apart. According to the World Health Organization, to date, Palau has not documented a single coronavirus case or virus-related loss.

As coronavirus cases started to increase, Palau was among the first to realize severer border restrictions. The authorities locked the country’s borders entirely by March, and it began examining citizens for the virus by April. These strict actions were the solution to keeping Covid-19 out, Palau’s ambassador to the UN said in May. An autonomous nation in free association with Washington, Palau has access to the United States’ mass Covid-19 vaccination program, known as Operation Warp Speed (OWS).