Covid-19 vaccine – Maldives to sign an agreement with Serum Institute of India

Health worker showing a vial of Covishield vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with Oxford University, mass produced by the Serum Institute of India | Photo: Sun

Malé, Maldives – The government of Maldives has made the decision to sign an agreement with the Serum Institute of India, to purchase additional Covid-19 vaccinations for the country.

In a statement released by the Finance Ministry on Thursday night, signed by Minister Ibrahim Ameer, stated that the Maldives will be signing an agreement with the Serum Institute of India, as well as the Serum Institute of Life Sciences company, in order to procure additional Covid-19 vaccines required by the Maldives. However, no further details pertaining to these agreements were shared.

According to reports, the price of the Covishield Vaccine – which is essentially the AstraZeneca vaccine, mass produced and marketed under the name Covishield by the Serum Institute of India – ranges between USD 2 to 3, while Indian Hospitals are supplied with the vaccine for a cost of USD 2, and administered by the hospitals to individuals for a price of USD 3.

The Maldives also previously signed an agreement with AstraZeneca, to purchase 700,000 doses of their vaccine as well. While the vaccines of this agreement are yet to be received, the Health Ministry declined to provide any further details regarding this agreement either.

With these 700,000 doses, as well as all the other vaccines donated to the Maldives by neighboring countries, Maldives had secured more than 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which is enough to vaccinate the entire population of the country even prior to the agreement with the Serum Institute of India. So it is unclear what has lead the Maldives to secure additional doses during this time.

Additionally, the currently the Maldives is only administering the Covishield vaccine in the country, with no other vaccines approved for use against the Covid-19 virus at this time. Hence the fate of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China to the Maldives is still unknown, while the brand of vaccines delivered to the Maldives via the COVAX facility is also yet to be known.

Maldives started it’s nation wide vaccination program on the 1st of February, and has since than seen the vaccination of more than 186,000 people over the course of less than 2 months. While the second dose of the vaccine is yet to be administered, HEOC informed that the process would being after 1st April.