Over 12,000 people receive COVID booster dose

An airport pass holder is administered the first dose of Covishield vaccine in a program organized by MACL on March 1, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The number of people who have received their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots has surpassed 12,000.

The latest statistics publicized by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) states that a total of 12, 193 persons have received their booster dose.

Maldives began administering booster doses on August 3. HPA said that booster doses are only administered via appointments at present.

Booster doses are administered at three vaccination centers;

  • Hulhumale’ Hospital: 1:00pm to 3:00pm
  • Dhamana Veshi: 1:00pm to 3:00pm
  • IGMH: 10:00am to 2:00pm

Currently, booster doses are only available to health sector frontline workers, those above the age of 50, and immunocompromised persons.

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

Although booster shots can only be administered via appointments, some vaccination centers are opened for walk-ins for those who require doses of AstraZeneca or Sinopharm vaccine.

In this regard, Sinopharm vaccine is currently only administered at Senahiya, from 8:30am to 9:30am.

AstraZeneca is administered at five vaccination centers;

  • Dhamana Veshi: 1:00pm to 3:00pm (Only via appointments)
  • Senahiya: 10:00am to 12:30pm (Only via appointments)
  • Vilimale’ Hospital: 9:00am to 1:00pm (On Tuesdays, via hospital issued appointments)
  • IGMH: 10:00am to 2:00pm (On Saturdays and Mondays, via appointments)
  • Hulhumale Hospital: 9:30am to 10:30am (For walk-ins and appointments)

As of present, 395,781 people have received their first dose and 364,082 people have been fully vaccinated