Nationwide vaccination campaign begins with an ambitious aim

February 4, 2021: A woman poses for the camera after having received the first dose of the Covishield vaccine in the Maldives. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

With the arrival of a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine in the Maldives, Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has announced the commencement of a campaign to fully vaccinate 90 percent of the eligible population by the end of August. 

In a press conference held today, the Spokesperson of HEOC Dr. Nazla Rafeeg stated that this campaign is HEOC’s biggest effort yet to vaccinate the entire Maldivian population. 

She also detailed that 26 percent people from the eligible population have not received a single dose of a vaccine yet. Thus, this campaign aims to vaccinate 90 percent of the eligible population by the end of August - to include those persons as well. 

“From the vaccine shipment received this time, and the vaccine shipments that will soon be received, we do believe that we can commence a nationwide vaccination campaign in order to inoculate all of the eligible population. We will prioritize vaccinating those who are waiting on their second shot following the first one in this campaign. This will be our final push to complete the vaccination of the entire Maldivian population,” Dr. Nazla had said.

In the same press conference, Nashiya Abdul Gafoor from HPA’s Immunization Program noted that the campaign has already begun on residential islands outside of Male’ area. She also added that the campaign will commence in Male’ area on July 31 at six vaccination centers.

Speaking further, Dr. Nazla highlighted that most countries are facing difficulties in securing vaccine doses – yet the Maldives was able to secure enough doses for everyone as we have a smaller population.

Hence, she encouraged everyone to get vaccinated while the chance is there. She also urged people to advise family members and friends who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated.

Dr. Nazla further detailed that if the percentage of people who have gotten fully vaccinated can be increased even further – the obstacles in the way of reverting back to the normal life would become much easier.

As of now, 60 percent of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated in the Maldives.

The campaign to fully vaccinate 90 percent of the eligible population by the end of August was initially announced by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during his address to the nation on this Independence Day.

“This is a privilege currently enjoyed by only a handful of countries around the world,” he had said.