Covid-19: Maldives Medical Association calls for fast vaccine rollout

India hopes to develop a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year: health minister. Photo by Getty Images

Male’, Maldives – Maldives Medical Association (MMA) – the first independent and representative body of doctors in the Maldives – has welcomed the approval of using the Indian donated, AstraZeneca vaccine in the Maldives, calling for a fast roll out.

The vaccine which has been dubbed ‘Covishield’, was approved by the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA), on a “restricted use in emergency situation” basis, was applauded by MMA, describing the approval as “wonderful news.

The Indian donated vaccines produced in Pune by the Serum Institute of India, for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and the collaborating partner in creating the vaccine, Oxford University, was received by Maldives in 100,000 doses, enough to vaccinate 50,000 individuals. As per authorities, initial jabs will be dedicated to frontline workers in the health care industry, as well as the vulnerable population who fall in the high risk category. As of now, children below the age of 18 and pregnant women are not set to receive the vaccine.

Commenting on the approval of the shot, MFDA reassured that all necessary technical aspects have been thoroughly inspected prior to the approval, including the composition and formulation of the vaccines, as well as other reliable documentations from various sources.

Further reassuring the public, MFDA clarified that generally all vaccines have a degree of reaction in the body following administration, and that the authority, in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) will be closely monitoring all such reactions to the vaccine.

The Covishield vaccine is the first vaccine to be approved for use in the Maldives against Covid-19, although a definite rollout date is yet to be announced.

So far, the number of Covid-19 cases have topped 15,000 as numbers have taken a turn towards a peak, following eased restrictive measures. With this, a new curfew has been enforced in the Male’ area as figures continue to surpass two digit figures on the daily.

As many hope for the vaccination program to be a miraculous solution to the Covid-19 pandemic, experts urge to continue taking safety precautions against the virus, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing despite getting the vaccine, as herd immunization would need to be attained for a more ease of precautions.