Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has called on wealthy and powerful nations to improve access to Covid-19 vaccines for poor countries around the world.
Chakwera made the call Tuesday when he appeared on BBC’s HARDtalk with journalist Sarah Montague saying “This is the unfairness that is there, and I speak as it is.”
The Malawi leader said: “We need equitable distribution of vaccines in the world. We need to have access and we cannot wait for the UK to finish vaccinating its people and then we can say everyone else in other countries can now be vaccinated, when nobody out there is safe then nobody will be safe everywhere.”
President Chakwera said if only Malawi could produce her own vaccines, perhaps things could have been different but thanked the British Government for the continued support on vaccines and healthcare systems.
Malawi has only vaccinated only two percent of its population while the in UK more than 46 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine – part of the biggest inoculation programme the country has ever launched.
According to health experts, these high vaccination levels have created a “protective wall.”
President Chakwera said Malawi has now made a resolution to use different types of vaccines apart from the one being used is in the country, AstraZeneca, saying they have added other regimes of vaccines such as Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson.
Chakwera said Malawi has just received some Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccines and they they are waiting for a new consignment of about 1.9 million new doses to come into the country.
“Malawi is doing all it can with the little we have. We value every life and that is why have embarked on not only testing and not just hospitalising people.
We will do all what is necessary to have them get well. The recovery rate is 85% and we want to make sure that the people get the vaccine and that is possible.
President Chakwera, however, said he is not blaming anybody for lack of vaccines in his country and other countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia emphasising that all he is asking for is that the vaccines are available to everyone in the world.
“Let the vaccines be readily available. We cannot afford to have people die or infected while others are inoculated with high percent, and Africa with one percent, we want more,” said Chakwera.
Malawians flocked to get the Covid-19 jab this week after a long-awaited consignment of AstraZeneca doses landed on Saturday, allowing the government to resume its stalled vaccination programme.
Queues snaked around the Covid providing Centres across the country, one line for first timers and another for those awaiting their second dose.
Malawi ran out of doses in June just as coronavirus infections began to rise, and just weeks after the government destroyed more than 19,000 expired doses because of hesitancy over the vaccine.
Alick Phiri, Focal Person for the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) at the Zingwangwa centre said people were coming in large numbers compared to the previous vaccination exercise. On Monday, 450 were jabbed at the centre, and 671 on Tuesday.
Racing to contain a surge in infections fueled by the Delta variant, Malawi has approved a raft of Covid-19 vaccines in an attempt to fill the gap left by stop-start deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :