Arrival date unconfirmed for 700,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses: HEOC

AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine | Photo: Reuters

Malé, Maldives – Health Emergency Operation Center has stated that the arrival date of 700,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine Maldives signed for with AstraZeneca Singapore Pte Ltd is yet to be determined.

Maldives signed an agreement to procure 700,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in the first week of January 2021. Three months past the agreement signing, Maldives has not received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Finance Ministry released a ‘public finance declaration’ signed by Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer in December 2021, which stated that the Maldivian government has made the decision to sign an agreement with AstraZeneca Singapore PTE LTD to obtain the vaccine.

They are in communication with us. The date of arrival is not confirmed. Could be due to a global shortage.

HEOC Official

In the three month period since, Maldives has purchases 300,000 doses of Covishield vaccine Serum Institute of India (SII) and promptly received the first batch of 100,000 doses from SII, India. Covishield is mass produced by the Serum Institute of India using the Oxford-Astrazeneca license.

Maldives received 200,000 doses of Covishield and additional 200,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from China as donations. Additional 18,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine was donated by anonymous benefactors. The country received further 5,850 doses of Pfizer vaccine and 12,000 doses of Covishield through the WHO COVAX facility.

Maldives has authorized three vaccines for emergency use; Covishield, Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

The Covid-19 Dhifaau program was launched on February 1 with the aim of inoculating all eligible resident population of the Maldives. Maldives has been lauded for practising vaccine equity in the International arena for giving free and equal access to vaccines to migrants regardless of their legal status. A total of 246,896 individuals have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 3,737 received the second dose.