Ministry refuses to put a number on vaccine stock, assures Maldives will not run out

A man being administered the Covishield vaccine in the Maldives. Authorities began administering the vaccine on February 1. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa).

The Health Ministry has assured that the Maldives would not run out of stock of vaccine, without specifically providing a number for the vaccine doses that the country currently has. 

The Ministry gave the assurance in a press conference today, after fears that the Maldives could soon run out of the Covishield vaccine developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine is the most widely used one in the national vaccine campaign alongside Sinopharm and Pfizer vacccines. 

Health Ministry State Minister Dr. Shah Mahir, in the press conference today refused to disclose the exact amount of vaccines that the Maldives has despite repeated questions posed by journalists.

The Minister said that the information was not of importance. 

"The number of vaccines in stock is not important. What matters is we go ahead with the vaccine program," said Dr. Mahir. 

Despite not disclosing the exact amount, the Minister gave assurances that everyone in the Maldives would receive vaccines and that the country would not face a shortage of supply. He even advised more people to get vaccinated with their second dose.

"Once each batch is finished, another batch will be received by the Maldives. That is how we have planned and are running things. So no one should worry about this," said Dr. Mahir. 

Health Ministry State Minister Dr. Shah Mahir. (Photo/HEOC)

Repeated questioning by the journalist of Sun at the presser regarding the exact figure, Dr. Mahir said that there was enough supply of all three types of vaccines in the Maldives. He once again refused to say an exact figure. 

India, which is the major source of the Covishield vaccine to the Maldives has halted the export of vaccines due to the worsening situation with the virus in the nation, and it has been feared that the Maldives could see the effects of the situation as well.

Minister Mahir said today that the Maldives had enough to last until a new batch of vaccines were received. He added that more ways were being sourced to get more vaccines. 

"We are also working on things to purchase more vaccines through the COVAX facility. So, the program will not be stopped because of a shortage of vaccines. We have faith that we can manage with the current level of stocks," said the Minister. 

More than 80,000 people have received their second dose of the vaccine in the Maldives.