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Maldives begins using AstraZeneca vaccine

Lamya Abdulla
28 July 2021, MVT 21:05
A medical worker holds a vial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a school gym in Tirana on March 13, 2021: Maldives received a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines last week -- Photo: Gent Shkullaku/ AFP
Lamya Abdulla
28 July 2021, MVT 21:05

Maldives begins using AstraZaneca vaccine in its COVID vaccination program.

The vaccine is now in use in islands and it will be started in Greater Male’ Area from July 31 onwards.

Government has announced a major vaccination program to vaccinate 90 percent of the eligible population by next month.

Maldives has already fully vaccinated more than half of the population using Covishield and Sinopharm.

Spokesperson of the Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said the first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine has arrived after delays. She said that the delivery of these vaccines were delayed for various reasons.

This particular shipment of vaccines arrived to Maldives last week.

Dr. Nazla noted the greatest weapon one can use in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is the vaccine. She added that if a large number of the population is vaccinated, the restrictions currently in place to control the spread can be further eased.

Manager of Immunization Program Naashiya Abdulgafoor said they had started using the AstraZeneca vaccine in islands yesterday.

The vaccine will be provided from six centers in the Greater Male’ Area on an appointment basis; in Social Center, Islamic Center, Art Gallery, Dhamanaveshi, Vilimale’ youth Center and Hulhumale Hospital. Except for the hospital, vaccines will be provided in the other centers from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Hulhumale’ Hospital will vaccinate from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

People that received the first dose from Covishield will be receive an AstraZeneca shot for their second dose. This is because both vaccines were made with the same formula.

So far, over 50 percent of the eligible population in Maldives has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, 27 percent has not received a single shot as well.

Member of Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, Dr. Nazla Musthofa said one of the reasons Maldives was able to overcome the severe COVID-19 wave it recently faced was due to high vaccination rates. She noted the severe cases had significantly decreased.

After temporarily halting the vaccination program in Male’ for the Eid celebrations on July 18, it was resumed yesterday. Second dose of Sinopharm vaccines are now available in Senahiya Hospital form 9:00 am to 11:00 am.