The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), on Wednesday, urged against spreading misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at a press conference, HEOC spokesperson Dr Nazla Rafeeq expressed the necessity of verifying information about the vaccines before sharing it with others, reiterating that the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) provided accurate information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
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.
Following news of the vaccines' delivery, numerous false notions concerning the vaccines were spread across Maldivian social media circles, leading to some people raising questions over the safety of the doses.
Although authorities have yet to announce a date on which vaccination will commence, the government has stated that the preparations such as training healthcare providers on inoculation, operationalising the cold chain system and raising public awareness - are well underway.
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, should they present.
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.