Over 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine brought to the Maldives

Maldives has received more than 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine for the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) revealed the vaccine doses will enable widening the booster dose vaccination programme across the Maldives. HEOC revealed the United States donated 100,620 doses of Pfizer vaccine to the Maldives, adding to the nearly 120,000 doses it had previously donated to assist the vaccination programme.

This vaccine delivery builds on the ongoing leadership of the United States government on global vaccination efforts as the world's largest donor to COVAX, the global vaccine access initiative. The doses are delivered in coordination with COVAX, in partnership with the Government of the Maldives.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has worked closely with the Maldives to respond to the pandemic, providing over USD 7 million in emergency supplies, training, and critical services, in addition to an in-kind donation of 60 ventilators.

Maldives began administering the Pfizer vaccine as the booster dose for COVID-19 from October onwards. As of now, vaccine booster doses are being administered to health workers and frontline workers as well as high-risk individuals. In this regard, over 22,000 individuals have been administered the booster dose, while a vast majority of the population has completed the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Health Protection Agency (HPA) said booster doses will be generally opened to the public once enough syringes are secured for the booster shots. HPA said the Maldives is facing difficulties in attaining the syringes used for vaccination. HPA noted it will begin arranging means to generally open the vaccination of booster doses to the public and announce a date once the issue is resolved.

In November, World Health Organisation (WHO) warned there could be a shortage of one to two billion syringes needed to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in 2022, which could also impact routine immunisations and undermine needle safety.