India donated additional 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine 'COVIDSHIELD' to Maldives on Saturday.
The vaccines were handed over to Maldivian authorities during a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry by the Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, soon after arriving in Maldives for a state trip.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem took part in the ceremony
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.
The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) has also guaranteed that Maldives would 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.
The Maldives Food and Drug Authority (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.
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.
After a long period of recording low numbers towards the end of 2020, Maldives is now experiencing its third wave of the pandemic, with the introduction of the United Kingdom’s highly contagious virus variant.
Currently, the island nation records a total of 18,467 virus cases of which 2,446 are active cases, in addition to 15,965 recoveries and 58 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 110 million people and claimed over 2.4 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 85.5 million people have recovered.