27 percent of eligible population unvaccinated: HEOC

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) has said 27 percent of the eligible population to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have not received any dose of the vaccine.

During a press conference held Wednesday, HEOC Spokesperson Dr. Fathmath Nazla Rafeeq said vaccinating against COVID-19 is imperative to avoid serious cases of COVID-19 and to provide eases to measures taken against the illness. While 27 percent of the eligible population still needs to be vaccinated, the government hopes to inoculate them with the first jab by the end of August, said Dr. Nazla.

Noting that over 1000 positive cases of COVID-19 were recorded in a single day when the Maldives' COVID-19 situation deteriorated earlier in May, Nazla said the country also recorded a large number of deaths during the period. Out of the fatalities, 80 percent of people were not vaccinated, said Dr. Nazla. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 will provide eases for travel and education, and further eases can be granted in the future if the majority of the population is vaccinated, she added. Noting that the rate of vaccination in the Maldives is high compared to other countries, Dr. Nazla described the progress as a huge achievement.

'We have now received the first shipment of the vaccines purchased by the government, they are now in the Maldives. We believe that we can begin vaccinating all eligible persons with this shipment as well as other vaccines we have received. Those awaiting the second dose will also be able to receive their final jab,' said Dr. Nazla.

The government is preparing to kick off a large-scale vaccination program across the Maldives next week. The government hopes to inoculate 90 percent of the eligible population before the end of August.