Pfizer vaccine shipment donated by US arrives in Maldives

This Jan. 24, 2021, file photo shows a vial of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

A shipment of the Pfizer vaccine donated by the United States to the Maldives has arrived in Maldives today.

The vaccine shipment was transported to Maldives by a Qatar Airways flight which landed at Velana International Airport around 15:05 this afternoon. This vaccine shipment donated by the US is via the COVAX facility and contains 128,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem and Ambassador of the US to the Maldives Alaina B. Teplitz took part in a special ceremony held today for the official handover of the vaccine shipment.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Naseem extended gratitude on behalf of the Maldivian Government and its people to the US, for this generous donation. He also highlighted the ongoing vaccination program kicked started by the Government recently.

“The vaccine shipment received today will give an additional boost to our vaccine campaign. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is armed with an ambitious aim to fully inoculate the entire nation. I also take this chance to express my gratitude to all healthcare workers in the Maldives,” he had said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Teplitz had said that she hoped that the vaccine shipment donated today will assist the Maldives in recuperating its economy.

Maldivian health authorities have granted permission for children above the age of 12 years to be vaccinated against COVID-19 last Thursday. Accordingly, children between the age of 12 and 17 will be administered the Pfizer vaccine.

As per the Education Ministry, a vaccine program aimed especially for school children will commence this week.

While the vaccination drive in the Maldives is going ahead at full speed, a total of 284,329 persons have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of yesterday.

At present, three types of COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in the Maldives being Covishield/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Pfizer. Apart from these vaccines, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Sputnik V have also been approved for emergency use in the country.