Covid-19 Dhifaau: Over 1,000 people vaccinated in Maldives

Nurses prepping to administer Covishield vaccine | Photo: President's Office

Male’, Maldives – The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that so far, a total of 1,578 individuals have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Maldives, since the national vaccination program ‘Covid-19 Dhifaau’ was inaugurated on February 1st.

The announcement further detailed that out of this, 742 inoculations were administered yesterday, 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, as well as a third center in the atolls.

In total, 1,309 people have been vaccinated 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 some regions of the island nation, the campaign will reach out to all parts of the country, 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.

As of now, 16,276 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the Maldives, while 14,337 have made full recoveries. This leaves 1,879 active cases still in the recovery process, out of which, 178 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.