Chinese vaccine donation's expected arrival date not confirmed

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) has stated that the expected date of arrival for the vaccine donation pledged by the Chinese government has not been confirmed thus far.

The Chinese government pledged to donate 100,000 doses of its homegrown Sinopharm vaccine last month. The government of China on Thursday announced that it would increase its donation of COVID-19 vaccines to the Maldives from 100,000 to 200,000 vaccine doses. The announcement was made by the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, Zhang Lizhong after meeting with Maldives’ Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid.

When asked regarding the expected date of arrival of the vaccines, HEOC’s Spokesperson, Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said a date on which the vaccine shipment will reach Maldives has not yet been confirmed.

The vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned company, China’s National Pharmaceutical Group (SinoPharm) has already been administered to millions of people. The efficacy of the virus against COVID-19 has been proven in phase three trials of the vaccine.

The Maldives’ Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) has previously disclosed that 5,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine was gifted to the Maldives by a well wisher. However, the identity of the donor was not disclosed. HEOC said the vaccines are currently in storage, and that it will only be administered after the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) issues the necessary approvals for the vaccine.

The Maldives initiated its national COVID-19 vaccine drive on February 1. Currently, only the COVISHIELD vaccine manufactured in India under a special license from AstraZeneca is being administered in the Maldives. However, Health Minister Ahmed Naseem has stated that more varieties of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the Maldives in the future.