The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), on Wednesday, assured that the vaccines provided by the Indian government will only be administered after ensuring its safety, and with the approval of Maldives Food and Drug Authority.
Maldives received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine COVISHIELD, licensed by Oxford and AstraZeneca and manufactured at Serum Institute of India, on Wednesday afternoon.
The free vaccine shipment contains a total of 100,000 doses, which can vaccinate approximately 50,000 individuals.
Authorities have yet to announce a date on which vaccination will commence, but stated that the preparations to begin vaccination are currently underway and may take some time.
According to HEOC, the vaccine will first be administered to health professionals and social workers, followed by senior citizens over the age of 50. High-risk individuals between the ages of 18 to 50, and teachers, police officers, and tourism industry staff will receive the vaccine after the aforementioned groups.
HEOC further noted that children and pregnant women will not be receiving the vaccine yet, as test trials for these demographics are still ongoing.
Till date, known side-effects of the vaccine include fever, swelling of the injection site, and allergies. HEOC assured that all vaccination stations will be fully prepared to deal with any severe side-effects.
In addition to the now-received vaccine shipment, the Maldivian government has also signed an agreement with AstraZeneca Singapore for an additional shipment. Moreover, HEOC revealed that efforts are underway to secure vaccines for 20 percent of the total population via the World Health Organization (WHO)'s COVAX facility.
The aforementioned shipments are expected to arrive within the next three months.