Covid-19 Dhifaau: Over 212,000 people vaccinated in Maldives!

People registering at vaccination stations. Last few days of vaccination saw long queues at vaccination stations after the government announced to stop giving first dose of Covid-19 vaccine after March 15, 2021 | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives – Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revealed that the number of individuals who have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Maldives has reached 212,711 including yesterdays 6,597 people who got their first jab.

Yesterdays total comes with the 4,994 doses which were administered Greater Malé Area and the 1,603 jabs administered in the atolls. With todays vaccinations, a total of 121,630 people from Greater Malé Area and 91,081 from the atolls have received their first dose of Covishield vaccine. 

The Health Minister of Maldives Ahmed Naseem had revealed on March 9, 2021 that the administration of second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine under the Covid-19 Dhifaau campaign, will commence some time after 15 March, 2021.

Speaking at an event to commence the establishment of a new building at the R. Un’goofaaru Hospital, the Minister stated that while the coronavirus is still spreading in the capital, it has been some time since the first dose of the vaccine has started to be administered in the country, and that initiating the administering of the second dose is vital in order to attain immunity, due to which the government plans to stop administering the first dose in Malé City by 15th March, in order to start the process of the second jab.

According to a statement by the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), after today, 15th of March, only specific groups of individuals can receive the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Maldives,

While HEOC previously stated that first dose administration would cease today to make way for authorities to start administering the second dose of the currently available vaccine Covishield, they stated that the following individuals can get the first dose:

  • High risk individuals ( Senior citizens and individuals with long term illnesses) 
  • Individuals positive for Covid-19 and are currently in isolation
  • Direct contacts currently in quarantine
  • Individuals travelling from abroad and currently in quarantine
  • Individuals who had to delay their first dose due to an illness or health condition

Although the administering of the first dose will be discontinued today, it is likely that the second dose of the inoculation will not start being administered until April, given that the HPA has announced that the second dose will only be administered eight weeks after the first dose, and that the Maldives started the Covid-19 immunization campaign on the 1st of February.

Maldives is currently administering the Covishield vaccine mass produced by the Serum Institute of India, which is essentially the same as the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

However, the country has received other brands of the vaccine as well, which are currently in the process of being approved, as per the authorities. Among the received vaccines include the Chinese made Sinopharm vaccine, as well as the vaccine shipment of 12,000 doses which arrived via the COVAX facility, of which details are yet to be revealed.

In total, Maldives has secured more than 1.2 million doses of the vaccine, meaning that the entire population can get vaccinated soon – something which the government of Maldives aims to achieve within the next five months.