President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Saturday night, assured that the government will arrange COVID-19 vaccines for every Maldivian citizen.
The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) had announced that vaccines will be secured for 20 percent of the Maldivian population, free of charge, through the COVAX programme launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The COVAX program is the main global scheme to vaccinate people in low and middle income countries against coronavirus. However, investigative reports by Rueters state that the scheme runs a “very high risk” of failure.
As per internal documents, international news outlets report that, in case of failure, nations that are home to billions of people could potentially be left with no access to vaccines until as late as 2024.
HEOC aims to commence the COVID-19 vaccination programme within the first three months of 2021. The centre had also noted that Maldives is not relying only on the COVAX programme and will secure vaccine shipments by other means as well.
Speaking at the National Awards ceremony at Republic Square, President Solih stated that hopeful days await in the future, despite the island nation being amongst one of the most severely affected countries due to the pandemic.
Adding that the state is working on securing vaccines for all citizens, he noted that relevant authorities will reveal details about the vaccine procurement process as it progresses.
The President had previously announced that all citizens will receive the vaccine for free.
Speaking at the ceremony, he also thanked the hardworking staff of the health sector as well as frontline workers from every field for their services in the COVID-19 response.
“We must remember that we can take the country to a better situation while leniencies are given on the preventive measures, only if we adhere to the precautions in place”, he said.