Maldives to sign agreement with AstraZeneca for vaccine procurement

The Maldives will be procuring the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the Finance Ministry has revealed.

A declaration signed by Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer which was released by the Ministry on Thursday said the government will be signing an agreement with Singaporean company, AstraZeneca to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Maldives.

While the vaccines are available for procurement from specific parties only, the vaccines are being released globally under special procurement policies, said the declaration. The relevant authorities have advised that the signing of the agreement is necessary at this time, it said.

Therefore, four provisions of the Public Finance Act will be temporarily suspended under the power vested in the minister under the Public Finance Act. The suspended provisions are those on tender process, awarding of contract, advance payment of 15%, and compensation in case of delays. The suspensions will be applicable only on the agreement which will be signed with AstraZeneca for the procurement of the vaccine and for the duration of the agreement.

The Finance Ministry will be conducting an internal audit on the spending under the agreement.

The Health Emergency Operation Center (HEOC) has previously stated that the Maldives will begin the administration of COVID-19 vaccine during the first quarter of 2020.

While Maldives is among that countries that will receive free vaccines for 20 percent of the population, the government has already decided on the order for vaccine administration.