No shot, no service: Unvaxxed people to face more restrictions

The Maldives' COVID-19 guidelines are being revised such that those unvaccinated against COVID-19 are barred from obtaining some public services.

A government official confirmed the decision and said those who are unvaccinated against the virus cannot enter cafes and restaurants, or use public transport and ferry services. Such persons will be barred from gyms and saloons, and all service providers will have to ensure that the rules are properly enforced at their premises. The official said the decision was made to ensure the public's safety and to avoid a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

A government official told AVAS that around 100,000 individuals are yet to receive the complete dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Greater Male' Area. Out of these, over 40,000 people have not received a single dose of the vaccine thus far.

Four vaccines are used in the Maldives vaccination campaign. They are the India-manufactured COVISHIELD vaccine, China's Sinopharm vaccine, Pfizer vaccine, and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The government has ensured adequate availability of COVID-19 vaccines to cater to the entire eligible population. In this regard, the Maldives received 200,000 doses of vaccine from neighboring India and another 200,000 vaccine doses from China as donations. China has said it would donate 300,000 more doses to the Maldives.

In addition to donations from friendly nations, the government also struck a deal with AstraZeneca Singapore to purchase 700,000 doses of the vaccine. Although the arrival of the stock was delayed significantly, the first shipment from the stock has now arrived in the Maldives. An additional 300,000 vaccine doses are being purchased from India. The government is also in talks with Russia to purchase the Sputnik V vaccine. It also obtained vaccines and syringes through the World Health Organization (WHO).

The government has ensured that no interruption will be caused to its large-scale nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign due to the lack of vaccines. It hopes to inoculate 90 percent of the eligible population by end of August. An appointment basis for vaccine administration has been adopted to facilitate an organized system to provide vaccination services to the public.

The Maldives has recorded 78,130 COVID-19 cases and 222 deaths to date. After a devastating fourth wave of infections in May, the situation in the Maldives has improved significantly. At this time, 2,543 cases are active.