Maldives could receive Covishield vaccine from India tomorrow

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (L) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R). (File Photo/President's Office)

Media outlets in India have reported that India will be supplying the Maldives tomorrow with the first shipment of the Covishield vaccine, the name used in India for the vaccine developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford against COVID-19. 

India’s Serum Institute produces the vaccine, and although no official word from the Maldivian government has been received on the vaccine shipment, Indian media outlets reported citing Indian government officials, that all necessary permits for the vaccines required by the Maldivian government were now received. 

If true, it would make the Maldives the first nation to receive the vaccine developed in India. Media outlets also reported that the vaccines provided were sufficient to inoculate the frontline workers and elderly population of the Maldives. 

An Air India flight transporting the vaccine will land at Velana International Airport tomorrow at 14:00, according to the media reports. 

The reports come after Indian Ambassador to the Maldives Sanjay Sudhir recently stated that the Maldives was set to receive the vaccine developed in India against the virus in the near future. The Ambassador stated so on January 17. 

India, one of the hardest-hit nations from the pandemic virus, is using two vaccines, the Astrazeneca-Oxford one named Covishield and a locally developed named Covaxin, to inoculate its population. 

The Maldivian government has previously said that it was also working to procure the Astrazeneca-Oxford vaccine. Some financial regulations have also been suspended in the efforts to procure the vaccine.

The Maldives is currently carrying out training for vaccination. However, an exact date for vaccinations to commence in the Maldives is yet to be announced. Registration for vaccination is already open.