MFDA approves AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use in Maldives

Vials of the AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are seen in a general practice of a doctor | Photo: Leonhard Foeger

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Food and Drugs Authority (MFDA) has approved AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Maldives.

MFDA had given the approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to people over the age of 18 following the technical advice of the National Pharmaceutical Board of Maldives and with the dossier information provided by AstraZeneca.

While this is the 7th vaccine to be given approval for Covid-19, MFDA has stated that this can only be used for restricted use in emergency situation for the ongoing pandemic and that once the health emergency had been lifted that the approval would only be valid for 60 days.

AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 has to be stored between 2°C to 8°C, MFDA had also stated that during the import of this vaccine that each batch should be accompanied by a batch certificate or a batch analysis report.

The approval of the vaccine comes while Health Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Naseem stated on May 02, 2021 that Maldives will receive the 700,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine procured from AstraZeneca Singapore Pte Ltd starting from June 2021.

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 had purchased 300,000 doses of Covishield vaccine Serum Institute of India (SII) and received the first batch of 100,000 doses from SII, India following the delay of AstraZeneca vaccine shipments from Singapore. 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.

According to World Health Organization, as of 19 April 2021, the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective at protecting people from the extremely serious risks of COVID-19, including death, hospitalization and severe disease.

The Covid-19 Dhifaau program was launched on February 1, 2021 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 314,903 individuals have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 181,759 received the second dose in the island nation.