Foreign Minister: Maldives will receive 100,000 additional Covishield doses this week

Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said on Thursday that the Indian government has provided assurance Maldives will not face difficulties in accessing the Covishield vaccine, despite India's decision to temporary halt export of the vaccine.

Speaking during the handover of a shipment of 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China on Thursday, Shahid noted that Maldives began its vaccination program with the 200,000 doses of Covishield vaccine donated by India.

He provided assurance Maldives will receive enough doses in time to provide the people who received their first dose of Covishield with their second dose.

“The question in our heart today is, how long will we have to wait for our second dose after getting jabbed in one shoulder with the first dose? The Indian government provided the answer to this question this morning. Indian government provided assurance Maldivian people will be sent an additional 100,000 doses this week. And that they will also provide the additional 100,000 doses the Maldivian people need,” he said.

Maldives began its COVID-19 vaccination program on February 1 with the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The first round of the vaccination program was conducted using 200,000 doses of Covishield donated by India and an additional 12,000 doses Maldives received through the COVAX facility.

Maldives has also ordered 1 million more doses of the same vaccine – 700,000 doses through an agreement with AstraZeneca and 300,000 doses through an agreement with Serum Institute of India.

Over 225,000 people have been inoculated under the COVID-19 vaccination program.