700,000 vaccine doses to be procured from AstraZeneca

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) has stated that 700,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be supplied to the Maldives under the agreement established between the Maldives government and AstraZeneca.

A declaration signed by Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer which said the government will be signing an agreement with Singaporean company, AstraZeneca to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Maldives was published by the Finance Ministry on December 31, 2020. At that time, the government had not revealed the number of vaccines being procured under the deal.

Speaking to state TV, PSM regarding the first supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the spokesperson of HEOC, Dr. Fathmath Nazla said in addition to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine that were gifted by the Indian government, an agreement has been signed with AstraZeneca to procure 700,000 doses of the vaccine. Vaccine doses enough for 20 percent of the Maldives’ population will also be provided by the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility.

While the vaccines gifted by India has now reached the Maldives, it is still difficult to state an exact date on which inoculations will begin. Conducting a completely new vaccine program will be no easy feat, and the government is now making the necessary arrangements, including providing training for health officials.

Referring to the concerns being voiced regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, Dr. Nazla said vaccine administration will begin only when the safety of the vaccines once the vaccines are approved by the World Health Organization.