Vaccine to be administered to seniors, high-risk individuals

An elderly man wears a mask as he sits in a harbor area in Male' City on June 9, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has stated that under the mass vaccination to be carried out in the Maldives in early 2021, individuals aged above 50 and high-risk individuals would be prioritized at first. 

In a press conference underway today, HEOC Spokesperson Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said that the COVAX facility for vaccine distribution had accepted the application by the Maldives to receive vaccines. Under the initiative, 20 percent of the Maldivian population will receive vaccines without any charges. 

HEOC said that 17 percent of the vaccine received would be administered to those aged above 50, high-risk individuals, and frontline workers. 

Dr. Nazla, speaking about the priority for the vaccine, said that the focus would be on saving lives including those that may be severely affected by the virus as well as health workers and those that may be exposed to the virus which can affect them severely. 

“We are also looking at reducing the difficulty in terms of social and economic aspects.” Said Dr. Nazla.

Based on these factors, healthcare workers and social workers at the forefront of the battle would be prioritized at first.

“They are individuals who treat high-risk individuals due to the nature of their work, or maybe exposed directly or indirectly to the virus.” Said Dr. Nazla.

She said that these individuals included doctors, nurses, hospital janitors, attendants, vaccine administrators, those involved in the burial procedures as well as RRT officials. 

She also said that individuals of old age, childcare workers, and people with disabilities would also be provided the vaccine. She estimated that they could make up of around three percent of the population. 

She said that high-risk individuals included those with low immunity, obesity, cancer patients, and those aged above 50. Also, individuals with kidney diseases, individuals at risk of strokes, and thalassemia patients would also be provided the vaccine on the first round. 

Apart from them, authorities would then look at necessary service providers such as military personnel, teachers, police officers, front liners of the travel industry, waste management officials, as well as correctional officers. Dr. Nazla said that front liners also included those working at utility stores and shops, as well as people with common direct contact with the public.