Covid-19 Dhifaau: More than 800 vaccinated in Maldives!

Maldives began Covid-19 vaccination program on February 1st with Covishield | Photo: President's Office

Male’, Maldives – Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that so far, a total of 880 individuals have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Maldives, since the national vaccination program ‘Covid-19 Dhifaau’ was inaugurated on Monday.

The announcement further detailed that out of this, 554 inoculations were administered on Tuesday, in the eight vaccination centers across the country. This includes the vaccination center at the Addu Equatorial Hospital (AEH) of Addu City, and the center in Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital (KRH) in Kulhudhuffushi City. In total, 666 vaccinations have been administered in Male’ City so far, which is still a fraction of the entire population of the more than 100,000 resident city.

Although the vaccination process is currently on going in only three regions of the island nation, the campaign is set to begin in all areas of the country today, with the aim of immunizing the entire population of the country within the upcoming six months – something which the Minister of Health of Maldives, Ahmed Naseem describes could make Maldives the first country to have vaccinated the entire country.

As of now, only one vaccine against the SARS coV-2 virus has been approved for use in the Maldives, which is the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and marketed as the Covishield vaccine.

The present stock of Covishield vaccines in the Maldives was donated by India, as a shipment of 100,000 doses, enough to immunize 50,000 individuals as the vaccine requires two doses – the second four to six weeks from the first. While this amount is not enough to vaccinate the entire country, Maldives has secured additional doses of the vaccine in its attempt to achieve the status of a fully immunized country. This includes the 700,000 doses of vaccines to be delivered to the Maldives during March, via an agreement made with the AstraZeneca Company itself, and further vaccines enough to vaccinate 20 percent of the country’s population, through the World Health Organization (WHO) co-led COVAX facility. Maldives has also received an additional 5,000 doses of the Chinese made Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday, which is yet to be approved for use in the country.

Despite the ceremony and excitement of the Covid-19 Dhifaau campaign launch, experts urge the public to not fall into a false sense of security and, remain vigilant by practicing all health and safety measures against Covid-19 as the country is battling a new variant of the Covid-19 virus found recently, which is far more contagious that the initial variant.

With cases above three figures on the daily, Maldives has entered a third wave of the pandemic, leading to authorities to strengthen restrictive measures put in place. As such, curfews and vehicle operation bans have been put in place, to be implemented by Maldives Police Serivce, while wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing remains mandatory.

As of now, 16,155 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the Maldives, while 14,263 have made full recoveries. This leaves 1,833 active cases still in the recovery process, out of which, 186 are receiving hospitalized care. With numbers on the rise, experts have warned that the country’s health care system is becoming overwhelmed, urging everyone to do their part in curbing the spread of the virus, and staying safe.