Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Monday, announced that it would begin administering an additional dose of the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine to children between six and 18 months on January 21.
The vaccines will be available from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs at Dhamana Veshi and Social Centre in the capital city of Male' as well as from Hulhumale' Hospital and Vilimale' Hospital.
HPA stated that the aforementioned injection is an addition to the two dosages necessitated in the national vaccine schedule. As per the schedule, an MR vaccine is to be administered at 9 months and followed by a Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine at 18 months.
Children can only be vaccinated with the additional MR dose four months after the administration of any previous measles vaccine.
HPA stated that the new dose was introduced to protect those vulnerable to contracting measles.
Although Maldives was declared measles-free by World Health Organization (WHO) in April 2017, a 3-year-old child was confirmed to have tested positive for measles on January 11.
Ministry of Health confirmed that a second case involving a 30-year old man had surfaced on January 13. HPA reported a third case the following day and confirmed a fourth on January 18.
In response, the government has initiated a three-month vaccination campaign against the outbreak, specifically targeting unvaccinated individuals and those who did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. The measures also include awareness programmes catering to expatriates residing in the country.