Maldives to receive vaccines from AstraZeneca in June

Maldives' Health Minister has stated that the COVID-19 vaccines ordered from AstraZeneca Singapore will arrive in June. Health Minister Ahmed Naseem made the announcement while speaking on state TV, PSM's Raajje Miadhu program on Saturday night.

The government an agreement with Singapore’s AstraZeneca Company to purchase 700,000 doses of the vaccine on December 31st, 2020. Four provisions of the Public Finance Act were temporarily suspended under the power vested in the minister under the Public Finance Act to procure the vaccines. No vaccines procured under the deal have arrived in the Maldives thus far.

Although the minister confirmed that the vaccines will arrive sometime in June, he did not disclose the number of vaccine doses that the archipelago will be receiving. He did not specify an exact date on which the vaccines' arrival is expected. The minister said once the vaccines are received, the Maldives will no longer be short on vaccines and can carry out it vaccination program as usual.

The Maldives is currently using vaccines from three different companies as part of its vaccination program. They are India's COVISHILED vaccine, China's Sinopharm vaccine and Pfizer vaccine.

Speaking regarding the Maldives' vaccination program, Minister Naseem said the government is making arrangements to procure additional doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine from India. The government is also working to purchase Russia's Sputnik 5 vaccine as well as additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The next batch of Pfizer vaccine will be given to children aged between 16 to 18, said the minister.

Over 228,000 people in the Maldives have received the first doze of the COVID-19 vaccine while over 100,000 people have received the complete dose of the vaccine.