Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem, on Monday, announced that Maldives will receive the vaccine dozes provided under the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s COVAX programme mid-February and the 700,000 doses purchased from AstraZeneca’s Singaporean company in March.
Speaking to the press, following the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Maldives, the minister assured the public that there was no need to have any qualms about getting vaccinated.
He further guaranteed that the immunisation programme will be concluded after vaccinating the entire population, including locals and expatriates.
Minister Naseem noted that the India-gifted COVISHIELD vaccine had been approved after various studies, and is being administered in several countries across the globe.
“It is the responsibility of every Maldivian citizen to aid in the efforts of fighting against this pandemic”, he said, highlighting the importance of getting vaccinated.
The Maldivian government commenced its vaccination programme with the inoculation of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Chief Justice Ahmed Muhthasim Adnan.
In addition to capital Male’, that state also kicked off the vaccination programme at Haa Dhaalu Atoll’s Kulhudhuffushi in the north and Addu Atoll in the south.
The Health Minister stated that the government aims to vaccinate 10,000 people every day, and the programme will soon begin on other islands as well.
As per the authorities, vaccines would initially be administered to frontline health professionals and individuals at a high risk of developing complications such as people aged 50 and above.
COVISHIELD was manufactured by the world's largest vaccine producer Serum Institute of India, using a formula prepared in a collaborative effort by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. British Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approved the vaccine on December 30, 2020.
Maldives currently stocks 100,000 doses of the aforementioned vaccine, constituting enough to vaccinate 50,000 people.