The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated to the Maldives from the government of China has arrived in the Maldives.
The Chinese government pledged to donate 100,000 doses of its homegrown Sinopharm vaccine in early February. The Chinese government later announced the donation of additional 100,000 doses in early March.
A ceremony was held on Thursday to handover the first 100,000 doses of the vaccine. The ceremony was honored by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Health Minister Ahmed Naseem, and China Ambassador to the Maldives, Zhang Lizhong.
Speaking at the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shahid said the first batch of vaccines arrived in the Maldives via a Maldivian Airline flight late Wednesday night. The second batch is expected to arrive by March 30th, said the minister. The second batch of vaccines will be reserved to administer the second shot of the vaccine to those who receive the initial dose of the vaccine.
The Maldives is using China’s Sinopharm vaccine for the second round of inoculation. The Maldives Food and Drug Authority approved the vaccine on March 15. While the Sinopharm vaccine has not yet been approved by European regulators, several aspects were reviewed regarding the vaccine. This includes manufacturer information and other data from countries that have already granted approval for the vaccine. EU regulators are expected to approve the Sinopharm vaccine very soon.