Maldives expands COVID booster shot rollout to over-50s

A man is administered the Covishield vaccine at the Social Center in Male' on February 24, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has decided to expand the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to include select people between the age of 50-60 years.

Maldives began administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on October 3. The booster shots are currently available to individuals aged 60 years and above, and immunocompromised individuals.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced in a tweet on Thursday that starting Saturday, November 20, booster shots will also be available to individuals aged 50 years and above.

However, individuals aged 50 years and above must meet specific criteria in order to be eligible for booster shots; having undergone an organ transplant or being on immunosuppressants (including Methotrexate, Leflunomide, Mycophenolate, Tacrolimus, Cyclophosphamide, Cyclosporine, Azathioprine and Biologics such as Rituximab, Tocilizumab, Infliximab, Tofacitinib).

Others eligible for booster shots are:

  • Individuals on long-term steroids (10 mg or higher for over one month)
  • Dialysis patients
  • Cancer patients on treatment or who have been on treatment less than one year ago
  • Individuals who are obese (BMI of 40 or more)
  • Individuals taking or recommended oxygen therapy at home by a doctor due to pulmonary disease
  • Individuals with pulmonary diseases such as COPS, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, or interstitial lung disease
  • Individuals with liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis
  • Diabetes patients with organ damage
  • Individuals who are bedridden due to old age or disease

The booster shot is administered minimum 60 days after the administration of the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.   

Booster shots are administered in three hospitals in the greater Male’ region. They are: 

  • ADK Hospital: 09:00-12:00 hours
  • Hulhumale’ Hospital: 11:00-12:00 hours
  • IGMH: 10:00-14:00 hours (every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)

According to statistics released by HPA, 361,391 people have been fully vaccinated, and 5,390 people have received the booster shot

Eligible individuals who wish to receive the booster shot can book an appointment via HPA’s portal.