The tiny remote Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean could “become the first island to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19,” the British Military said Friday.
The island – a UK overseas territory – has a population of just over 800 inhabitants.
At least 1,950 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrived at Ascension earlier this week on a special support flight by the Royal Air Force.
Staff at the island’s Georgetown Hospital have begun administering the vaccine and the first people to vaccinated were hospital employee Sylvia Isaac and her husband Mervyn.
In a statement Ms. Isaac said: “I feel very privileged to be able to receive this vaccine,” and that the, “vaccination itself was quick and painless.”
“This vaccine will hopefully protect us against the worst effects of COVID-19, and also help to protect family, friends and the rest of the community,” she said.
Given the number of inhabitants the Ascension Island Government anticipates, “that first doses will be administered to all those offered it by the end of next week.”
Gov. Philip Rushbrook of Ascension said: “I am pleased to be on Ascension at this time to see first-hand the arrival and distribution of the vaccines.”
“I would like to thank personally everyone involved in making this happen.” And said the delivery of the vaccines, “represents the culmination of a lot of hard work across several UK government departments, the RAF and within Ascension Island Government.”
Royal Air Force Flying Officer George Cox, Officer Commanding Cargo said: “Places like Ascension Island are notoriously difficult to get to.”
The vaccines arrived on an A400M Atlas cargo plane as the “RAF can get out to remote locations that commercial aircraft can not necessarily access,” said Flying Officer Cox.
Where is the Ascension? A volcanic island of 33 square miles, Ascension, is approximately 1,000 miles from the coast of Africa and 1,400 miles from Brazil. Their nearest neighbors are on the island of St. Helena 700 miles to the north.
Ascension Island is part of the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha and has its own Constitution is self-governing and makes its own laws.