Maldives to purchase 200,000 doses of Sputnik V

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem has stated that the Maldives will be purchasing 200,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.

During a press conference held at the President's Office on Tuesday, Minister Naseem shared the latest updates on the work being done by the government to procure COVID-19 vaccines. The minister said while it has been decided to purchase 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, the relevant agreements will be signed very soon. Discussions are ongoing, and the final order will be placed within a few days, said the minister.

Minister Naseem said the vaccines will be received within one month from the date of signing the purchase agreement.

The Maldives has been using Serum Institute of India's COVISHIELD vaccine and China's Sinopharm vaccine in its vaccine program. Pfizer vaccine is also being administered to high-risk individuals with pre-morbidities. Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MDFA) recently authorized the emergency use of the Sputnik V vaccine.

The government last year placed an order to purchase 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from AstraZeneca Singapore. While months have passed since the order was placed, the government has said the first shipment of the vaccines will arrive within the first week of June. However, Minister Naseem last night said it is unlikely that the vaccines will arrive within the first week of June, although its arrival is expected sometime within June.

The Maldives run out of stock of the COVISHIELD vaccine after India suspended supplying the vaccine to cater to its own needs. Since then, over 100,000 Maldivians have been awaiting the second dose of the vaccine. The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC)'s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) has given the green light to use the AstraZeneca vaccine to administer the second dose to those who received one dose of COVISHIELD vaccine.