Maldives approves China’s Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use

People line up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a vaccination center in Male, Maldives, on March 15, 2021. (Xinhua)

MALE, March 16 (Xinhua) – The COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm has been approved for emergency use in the Maldives, the Maldives Food and Drug Administration (MFDA) announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.

The vaccine made by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) will be given to people aged between 18 and 60, local media reported, citing an official at the MFDA. The MFDA also announced that the vaccine made by Pfizer has also been approved for emergency use .

The Covishield vaccine based on a formula by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India was approved for emergency use in late January.

The government of Maldives has been vaccinating its population against the pandemic since Feb. 1, prioritising frontline health workers and other high-risk groups. Vaccinations are available free of charge to residents over the age of 18, including undocumented immigrants.

According to the statistics from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), 206,114 people have been vaccinated as of Sunday. Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Maldives has reached 21,572, including 64 deaths.  ■