Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), on Sunday, revealed that the government plans to purchase 300,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine from the Serum Institute of India.
The Serum Institute of India is the largest producer of vaccines in the world and manufactured COVISHIELD 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.
Speaking at a press conference held by HEOC, the centre’s Spokesperson Dr Nazla Rafeeq revealed that Maldives had received a total of 212,000 COVISHIELD doses and 18,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine till date.
Dr Nazla noted that the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) is currently conducting research ahead of approving the rollout of the Chinese produced Sinopharm vaccine.
The spokesperson also revealed that more shipments from the COVAX Facility were expected shortly.
Maldives received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations, containing 12,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, from the COVAX Facility on March 8.
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.
Furthermore, the Maldivian government also signed an agreement with AstraZeneca's Singaporean company to secure additional 700,000 doses.
Maldives officially commenced its vaccine roll-out on February 1 after receiving the initial 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.
MFDA approved the India-gifted COVISHIELD vaccines for restricted use in "emergency situations", defined by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, subjected to various regulatory provisions.
Currently, the island nation records a total of 21,572 virus cases of which 2,406 are active cases, in addition to 19,095 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 120.4 million people and claimed over 2.6 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 20.7 million people have recovered.