Over 100,000 people waiting for Covishield 2nd dose, some past 12 weeks: Maldives Health Minister Naseem

Covishield Vaccine | Photo: IndianExpress

New Delhi, India – Health Minister of Maldives Ahmed Naseem has said to Times of India that there are currently 109,737 people in Maldives who are waiting for the 2nd dose of Covishield vaccine, some of whom have surpassed the 12 week mark.

While Maldives signed an agreement to purchase 300,000 Covishield doses with Sreum Inistitute of India (SII) the company is unable to provide the remaining 200,000 doses due to the Covid-19 crisis and resulting export ban by India.

Yes, as some of the vaccines have already surpassed the 12th week after getting the first dose of the Covishield vaccine.

The Health Minister told Times of India that Maldives has vaccinated 228,653 people thus far with Covishield first dose, with 117,737 people with the second dose. However, there are still 109,737 people waiting for the second dose of Covishield.

While some have already surpassed the 12 week mark for optimal vaccine efficacy, 60,000 people are fast passing the 12 week gap.

Although Maldives received 200,000 doses of Sinopharm as donations from China, the Minister assured that Maldives will not be purchasing any vaccines from China. Instead the island nation is looking to procure from the AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical company in Singapore.

[AstraZeneca vaccine] can be interchangeable with Covishield vaccine and can be given as a second dose to those who received Covishield [as a] first dose.

China is donating one million doses of Sinophram vaccine to neighbouring Nepal and selling 15 million doses to Bangladesh according to Time of India. Sinopharm vaccine donated by China is also currently being administered in the Maldives since Covishield is depleted.

Maldives has vaccinated a total of 309,815 people with the first dose and 166,490 with the second dose. The unavailability of the Covishield vaccine has created a major hurdle in the country’s goal to fully vaccinate the entire eligible population in order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 situation has deteriorated rapidly in the Maldives in the past month with the virus spreading to all parts of the country and death rates increasing exponentially.

Doctors are warning that Maldives that Covid-19 is out of control in the country, and the healthcare workers are stretched to their limits

With the active health facilities in the country overburdened with Covid-19 patients, the non-Covid-19 treatments are threatened to be hampered. Medical professionals have repeatedly stressed the threat of medical facilities being overburdened to the point that they have to choose patients to treat depending on who is sicker.

While the country is currently going through one of the worst waves that has hit the country in terms of the pandemic, currently there are 204 patients receiving hospitalized care for the virus throughout the country. With majority of the hospitalized patients being in the capital, experts continuously reiterate the importance of taking preventive steps against Covid-19, such as maintaining adequate physical distancing, wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene.