Maldives received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations, containing 12,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, from the COVAX Facility on Sunday.
The COVAX Facility, which aims to ensure rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, accepted Maldives' application to secure vaccines for 20 percent of the country's population in December 2020.
Co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), COVAX has a target to procure and deliver two billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021. This is intended to cover 20 percent of the populations of each participating country.
Maldives was listed among the 92 low and middle income countries eligible to access COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
The COVAX AMC will partially cover the cost of vaccine procurement for the 92 countries, which include all economies with Gross National Income (GNI) per capita figures below USD 4,000 and other countries that qualify for assistance from World Bank International Development Association (IDA).
Maldives officially commenced its vaccine roll-out on February 1 after receiving a donation of 100,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine from the Indian government. An additional donation of 100,000 doses was granted on February 20.
According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), a total of 151,643 individuals in Maldives have been immunized as of March 7.
After a long period of recording low numbers towards the end of 2020, Maldives is now experiencing its third wave of the pandemic, with the introduction of the United Kingdom’s highly contagious virus variant.
Currently, the island nation records a total of 20,794 virus cases of which 2,599 are active cases, in addition to 18,124 recoveries and 64 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 117.4 million people and claimed over 2.6 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 92.9 million people have recovered.