A consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines as produced by the Serum Institute in India has been airfreighted to the Maldives under a special grant program between the two countries.
The Air India flight carrying the 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine landed at Velana International Airport at around 2:42pm on Wednesday.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih addressed the nation shortly before the vaccines reached the island nation, and extended his sincere gratitude, and the gratitude of the Maldivian people, to the citizens of India and the Indian government, along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, emphasizing the long-standing friendship between the two countries on a national and personal level.
The president further revealed that the government’s Covid-19 response plan is to provide free vaccines to all the citizens of Maldives, in the coming months.
Tuesday saw the Indian Ministry of External Affairs confirm the consignment's imminent arrival in the Maldives as part of a grant assistance program between the close regional allies. Maldives is among the first countries to receive the vaccine from India; despite fraught relations between the two countries under the previous administration, India has a long history of being an international first responder to the Maldives in times of unprecedented crises and emergencies.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry also announced that India was committed to "help all of humanity" in battling the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) opened registration to receive Covid-19 vaccine doses on Monday through their my.health.mv portal, and announced that vaccines would be administered to the public based on a priority list, with frontline workers set to receive the first doses along with high-risk elderly persons.