Restrictions will be lifted after both doses are administered and cases decline: Dr. Nazla

HEOC TAG team member Dr. Nazla Musthafa | Photo:

Malé, Maldives – Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of Maldives has told that the restrictions imposed amid Covid-19 will be lifted only when both doses are administered and as cases start to decrease.

Speaking on a program by Public Service Media (PSM), Pediatric Infections Expert and TAG team member, Dr Nazla Musthafa told that it was crucial for a large percentage of the living population of Maldives to get vaccinated and that high risk people must get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Spokesperson of Health Emergency Operations Center, Dr Nazla Rafeeg had previously informed that the second dose of Covishield vaccine will be administered after 8 weeks from the first dose. 

According to Dr Nazla Rafeeg, the decision has been taken after looking at recent research and advice from World Health Organization (WHO) and Maldives Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (MTAGI). According to HEOC, the vaccine is fully effective two weeks from the date the second dose is administered.

HEOC told that the vaccines efficacy will be at 60 percent after two weeks of the first dose and that it would reduce the virus leading to severity by 100 percent. Dr. Nazla Rafeeg also told that two weeks after the second dose, the efficacy of the vaccine would be at 70 percent. However, wearing masks and keeping physical distance is strongly advised even after getting each of the vaccine doses.

Following the increased number of cases since January after the new variant was found in Maldives, HPA has increased the strictness of the measures which had been placed to lower the spread. Most recently, HPA increased the vehicle operation ban on the roads of Malé area between 18:00 and 06:00 effective from today February 12 onwards and groups of people more than 10 cannot gather at the same place.

Until yesterday, 49,836 people from Malé area and 14,212 from the atolls have received their first dose of Covishield vaccine.

The vaccine currently being administered in Maldives is the Covishield vaccine, licensed by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with Oxford University, and mass produced by the Serum Institute of India.

Maldives received 100,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine from India, which is currently in use, while additional 700,000 doses procured by the country are to be received within the March. However, the country will receive the vaccine shipment from World Health Organization (WHO), which would be sufficient to vaccinate at least 20 percent of the population of the country, with in the upcoming two weeks.

While China has also decided to donate 100,000 vaccines to the country, Maldives already received 5,000 doses of the Chinese made sinopharm vaccine via a donor Health Protection Agency has not yet named.