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Maldives begins COVID-19 vaccination with heads of three powers

Mariyam Malsa
01 February 2021, MVT 10:29
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih being inoculated as part of the commencement of Maldives' vaccination drive. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Mariyam Malsa
01 February 2021, MVT 10:29

The Maldivian government, on Monday, commenced its COVID-19 vaccination programme with the inoculation of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Chief Justice Ahmed Muhthasim Adnan.

Speaking at the vaccine roll-out function held at the Social Centre in the capital city of Male', President Solih urged all Maldivians to participate and cooperate with the vaccination effort. He expressed hope that all citizens and residents in Maldives will be vaccinated in the upcoming six months.

Following the president, several other top state officials and diplomats were inoculated at the function. This includes Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Defence and National Security Mariya Ahmed Didi, Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem, Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services Aishath Mohamed Didi and Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Sanjay Sudhir.

Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS

In addition to the capital city of Male', vaccination was commenced at Kulhudhuffushi City in Haa Dhaalu Atoll and Addu City.

The vaccination will be administered from six health facilities in the Greater Male' Region. These are Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), ADK Hospital, Treetop Hospital, Hulhumale’ Hospital, Senahiya Military Hospital and Villimale’ Hospital.

Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) approved the India-gifted COVISHIELD vaccines for restricted use in "emergency situations", defined by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, subjected to various regulatory provisions.

As per the authorities, vaccines would initially be administered to frontline health professionals and individuals at a high risk of developing complications such as people aged 50 and above.

COVISHIELD was manufactured by the world's largest vaccine producer Serum Institute of India, using a formula prepared in a collaborative effort by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. British Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approved the vaccine on December 30, 2020.

Maldives currently stocks 100,000 doses of the aforementioned vaccine, constituting enough to vaccinate 50,000 people.

The government has also signed an agreement with AstraZeneca's Singaporean company for an additional 700,000 doses.

The island nation records a total of 15,841 virus cases of which 1,644 are active cases, in addition to 14,139 recoveries and 52 deaths.

On March 12, 2020, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 1 billion people and claimed over 2.2 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 75.1 million people have recovered.