COVID-19 Vaccine stock is low: Mabrouq

Spokesperson of the Presidents Office, Mohamed Mabrouq Azeez | Photo: HEOC

Malé, Maldives – Spokesperson of the Presidents Office, Mohamed Mabrouq Azeez has said that the Covid-19 vaccine stock in Maldives is low.

Following a question by a journalist about the vaccine stock in the country during last nights Health Emergency Operations Centers (HEOC) press conference revealing additional restrictive measures to curb down the spread of Covid-19 virus in the nation, Mabrouq stated that the current stock of Covid-19 vaccine in the country was low but dodged from giving the quantity stating that he did not have the figures with him.

Mabrouq’s comment on the matter comes while State Minister of Health Ministry, Dr. Shah Mahir had refused to answer the question during a previous press conference and stated that the government had guarantee of getting more vaccine batches by the time the current stock depleted and that they were in discussions with various parties to get vaccine for the country. He had also said that the government was working on purchasing additional vaccines from COVAX facility of WHO as well.

While the government has refused to disclose the amount of Covid-19 vaccine doses remaining in the country, Health Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Naseem had told earlier that Maldives will receive the 700,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine procured from AstraZeneca Singapore Pte Ltd starting from June 2021.

Minister Naseem also said that plans are underway to procure required doses of Pfizer vaccine to inoculate the 12,000 individuals aged 16 to 18. Health Minister said that the goal is to vaccinate 80 percent of the population with two doses of Covid-19 vaccine. 

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. 

Maldives has also purchased additional 300,000 doses of Covishield vaccine Serum Institute of India (SII) due to the delay in receiving the 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and 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 country. 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.

Till date, a total of 297,639 individuals have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 108,494 received the second dose. Maldives aims to become one of the first countries to have a 100 percent vaccinated tourism sector and entire resident population. To this end, the country is also vaccinating the migrant population regardless of documentation status.