COVID-19: Fourth vaccine dose to be administered amid spike in cases

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that people over the age of 65 and high-risk individuals who have completed three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will receive a fourth dose.

An announcement issued by HPA on Wednesday said the fourth dose would be given if four months had passed since receiving the third dose of the vaccine.

The fourth dose is for people over 65 years of age and immunocompromised individuals between 18 and 64 years of age. These include people who have had an organ transplant, are taking immunosuppressants or long-term steroids, and are on regular dialysis. Those undergoing cancer treatment or who have received treatment for cancer over the past year, those with high BMI, and are being treated for diseases such as liver cirrhosis are also included in the list. In addition, people with organ damage due to diabetes and bed-ridden people are also among those eligible to receive the fourth dose.

The fourth dose of the vaccine will be administered on an appointment basis from Thursday.

The Maldives' COVID-19 vaccination program was launched on February 1 last year. The first dose of the vaccine has been administered to 398,793 people in the country as of the 18th of this month. The second dose of the vaccine was given to 384,421 people and the third dose to 162,586 people.

The fourth dose of the vaccine comes as the number of cases has increased significantly. HPA has urged the public to take precautions.