State Vice President Saulos Chilima received a dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Muzu on Thursday as part of a growing effort to convince the public that inoculations are safe.
Chilima braved the heavy rains at the Mzuzu Central hospital where he also inspected a field facility for Covid-19 being constructed at the facility.
He took a dose of the AstraZaneca vaccine when he rolled the left short sleeve of his golf shirt before the needle was inserted into his left arm.
Chilima told the medical officer who administered the dose: “Go ahead when you’re ready.”
He emphasised the safety of the vaccine, calling on Malawians to get their doses, saying they should not listen to ‘Devil Worshipers.’
Said Chilima: “At a time when globally there are rumours and disinformation about Covid-19 vaccination, it is indeed important that the President and myself take lead in being the first ones to be vaccinated today.
” It is the expectation of His Excellency the President that the example we have shown today by being the first to take the vaccine, will inspire many Malawians to do the same especially when it is rolled out at a larger scale very soon. Therefore, the point that the President and myself are emphasising today is that the vaccine is safe and you too must take it.”
Chilima adds that the COVAX facility will assist Malawi with 20% of COVID-19 vaccines, this means they will reach out to over 3.8 million people.
He disclosed that the shipment of the vaccines will be in phases.
“In the initial phase COVAX has approved more than 1.47 million doses to be shipped to Malawi between now and May 2021.
” In addition to the vaccines from the COVAX Facility, we are also expecting 50,000 doses from the Government of India and 99,833 doses from MTN International Limited through the African Union. The African Union has recommended that countries in Africa should aim for vaccination coverage of above 60%.”
Chilima also said the Ministry of Health has installed extra cold rooms for the storage of vaccines with assistance from Unicef.
“So far Malawi has 861 vaccination sites across the country and they will all be utilized during this exercise. New solar direct drive fridges have also been installed and are functional,” he said.
He urged people to continue observing preventive measures to keep the new infection rate down.
“Let me emphasise that it is important for us as a country and as a people, to always remember and remind each other, that taking the vaccine does not mean the end of the pandemic.
” As a Government we will continue to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) in monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic at national and global levels.”
The first group to get the jabs comprises health workers, police, immigration, Malawi Defence Force, teachers, prison warders, prisoners, journalists, those above 60 and people with underlying conditions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :