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COVID vaccine not mandatory for citizens: HPA

Nafaahath Ibrahim
24 January 2021, MVT 19:44
A medical worker fills a syringe with Covishield, AstraZeneca-Oxford's Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine made by India's Serum Institute, at a hospital in Ahmedabad on January 21, 2021. (Photo by Sam PANTHAKY / AFP)
Nafaahath Ibrahim
24 January 2021, MVT 19:44

Health Protection Agency (HPA) declared on Saturday that COVID-19 vaccine inoculation is not compulsory for citizens.

However, HPA noted that getting vaccinated would help to control the infection spread in Maldives, and thereby allow the country to return to pre-pandemic status.

The agency has released an FAQ document for public awareness, disseminating important information on vaccination and side effects, as well as specifications on the ‘COVIDSHIELD’ vaccine which is to be rolled out in Maldives.

According to HPA, the vaccine will first be administered to health professionals and social workers, followed by senior citizens.

Meanwhile, children under 16 years of age and pregnant women will not be given the vaccine as of now, as test trials for these demographics are ongoing.

Maldives received the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine 'COVISHIELD', licensed by Oxford and AstraZeneca and manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, on January 20.

A date is yet to be announced on when inoculation will commence, but authorities stated that preparations to begin vaccination are currently underway.

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