President Lazarus Chakwera will be the first to take the dose of the coronavirus vaccine with First Lady Monica Chakwera as the government will roll out vaccination drive in Zomba, government has said.
The administration of the vaccines is expected to start on March 15.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandondo Chiponda and Minister of Information Gospel Kazako both disclosed that Chakwera enrolled himself to be vaccinated the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab to encourage Malawians eligible for the injection to get it.
“President Chakwera will have the first shot of coronavirus vaccine publicly to prove it’s safe,” said Kazako, who is also government spokesperson.
Kazako said President Chakwera to launch Covid-19 vaccines with first jab will help an awareness campaign to promote confidence in its safety and effectiveness as Malawi public health officials try to convince the public to take the vaccine.
“President Chakwera will get his first jab in public to help urge all Malawians to get the vaccine,” said Kazako.
Priority groups to receive the first vaccinations include teachers, health care workers, government security officers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
Minister of Health Chiponda d has also disclosed that journalists are among priority groups to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
She told the journalists at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe on Friday when she received thefirst batch of 360,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the UN COVAX facility that they are among the risk groups “as their work involves interacting with a lot of people”.
Misa-Malawi in a statement said it was pleased to notify its membership that government has included journalists in the priority groups of people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
“In this arrangement, journalists will be required to carry with them Media Council of Malawi (MCM) accreditation cards or employment identity cards when going to the immunisation centres,” reads the statement signed by Misa chairperson Teresa Ndanga.
Misa-Malawi encouraged all journalists to get immunised as their job involves regular travel and interaction with others, thereby putting them at risk of contracting Covid-19.
“We also take this opportunity to implore on journalists to responsibly provide coverage on the immunisation rollout and encourage all Malawians to be vaccinated when the opportunity arises.
“Misa Malawi would also like to remind journalists and media houses of the earlier arrangement in which journalists can be tested through their media house(s) when and where there are confirmed cases within the media house or there are individuals who have clear symptoms,” reads the statement.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said 861 centres where the Covid-19 vaccine would be administered across the country have already been identified and logistics were in place for the delivery.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Charles Mwansambo has said the vaccines should not encourage complacency.
“Let’s continue washing our hands regularly with soap and water and of course those with sanitizers, you sanitize [and] let’s watch that 1-meter distance and avoid crowds,” Mwansambo said.
Malawi registered its first three cases of Covid-19 last April.
However, infections reached a critical level during a second wave of the pandemic, starting in November, when 30% of those tested each day were positive for Covid-19, leading President Chakwera to declare the pandemic a national disaster.
Malawi has reported 32,283 infections and 1,058 deaths from the virus.
COVAX is an initiative to ensure access to the coronavirus vaccine is available to the world’s most vulnerable.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :