Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem has vowed that Maldives will not import any vaccines made in China.
In an interview given to the “Times of India”, Minister Naseem revealed that regardless of the rather severe shortage faced by the country, the Maldivian government has no intention of purchasing any vaccines from China.
Despite the Health Minister’s comments, the number of Maldivians who have received their first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine have surpassed 78,000 with 45,000 having completed both doses required for immunity. These doses were from among the 200,000 donated to the Maldives by the Chinese government.
And while the Health Minister seems to be adamant that Maldives will not source any more doses of Chinese vaccines, Maldives has yet to receive either the 700,000 doses of vaccine ordered from AstraZeneca, or the 300,000 doses of Covishield ordered from India. Thus far Minister Naseem has named six different dates of arrival for these shipments, every single one of which passed without the vaccines being received.
“Some Maldivians have crossed the 12 week mark after the first dose, without having received the second. To date, 228,653 people have received the first jab in the country, of which only 117,342 completed the full dosage by receiving the second jab. The rest of the 109,737 people need to be given the second dose”, revealed Naseem, who is the second Health Minister appointed to the Solih administration.
Stating that he remains hopeful that the shipment ordered from AstraZeneca might reach Maldives early this month, Minister Naseem stated that “those who received the first dose of Covishield can safely be given AstraZeneca as a second dose”.
As Maldivians continue to express concerns regarding the delay between their first and second doses of vaccine, Spokesperson Mabrouk Azeez stated to journalists that the much awaited shipment will arrive in Maldives any day now, with President Solih himself working to expediate the process. However, Maldives has yet to receive any shipments.
Currently Maldives is working to bring 200,000 doses of Russian vaccine Sputnik, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov providing assurance just last week, that the vaccine will be provided to the Maldives as soon as possible.