Registration to open on Monday to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine

The Maldives has announced that registration will open for those who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday morning.

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) said those who wish to sign up for the vaccination program are required to register via a special portal. Spokesperson of HEOC, Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said registration priority will be given to those who work in the health sector. In this regard, only health care professionals and those who work in the sector can sign up on Monday morning. Dr. Nazla said the portal, can be used for registration.

Although registration has opened for those who wish to receive the vaccine, HEOC said it does not know the date on which the vaccines will be received, or when vaccine innoculation will commence. Although reports citing the Health Minister that the vaccines will arrive in the Maldives on January 26 circulated on news platforms last week, the Health Ministry has denied the reports.

Although the date on which vaccine administration will commence cannot be revealed at this time, arrangements to facilitate the project are underway, said Dr. Nazla. Training relevant to the vaccine drive is also ongoing, said Nazla.

Nazla noted that it would not be possible to immediately begin the administration of vaccines as soon as the vaccine vials are received. Since the COVID-19 vaccine is a new vaccine, the amount of preparation necessary before the administration of the vaccine is significant, she added. The safe distribution of vaccines to the islands of the archipelago, training those who administer the vaccines, and vaccine awareness programs are all part of the necessary preparations, said Nazla.

Dr. Ahmed Faisal from HEOC shared several important information regarding the vaccine during Sunday night’s press conference. He highlighted some important areas regarding vaccinations and steps being taken to address any issues that may arise.

While Maldives qualifies to receive free vaccines for 20 percent of the population, the first round of vaccines will be given to those who are directly and indirectly involved in the care of COVID-19 patients, and other frontline workers. This includes doctors, nurses, lab technicians, RRT staff and other hospital workers. The second round of vaccines will go to those over the age of 50 and those at high risk of serious infection. After that, vaccines will be given to frontline workers not included in the above categories.

A declaration signed by Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer on December 31, 2020 said the government will be signing an agreement with the Singaporean company, AstraZeneca to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Maldives. Efforts are ongoing to procure vaccines from AstraZeneca as well as other sources.