Covid jab coming to Malawi offers less protection to South Africa variant: Chakwera says prioritize preventing further infections

Scientists  have said  a new study has revealed that the  Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine  coming to Malawi does not appear to offer protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the viral variant from South Africa which is confirmed in the country, but  President Lazarus Chakwera the country should still prioritize preventing further infections.

President Chakwera:The hardship of preventing new infenctions is better than the hardship of treating them

In both the human trials and tests on the blood of those vaccinated, the jab showed significantly reduced efficacy against the 501Y.V2 viral variant, which is dominant in South Africa, according to the randomised, double-blind study  that has dominated the British media.

“A two-dose regimen of [the vaccine] did not show protection against mild-moderate Covid-19 due to [the South African variant]”, the study says, adding that efficacy against severe Covid-19, hospitalisations and deaths was not yet determined.

The study, led by South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford university, enrolled 2,026 HIV negative individuals, with a median age of 31. Half the group was given at least one dose of placebo, with the other half receiving at least one dose of vaccine.

But Prof Sarah Gilbert, Oxford lead vaccine developer, told the BBC on Sunday  that vaccines should still protect against severe disease.

Speaking in a televised speech for his weekly briefs to update the nation on the Covid-19 fight,  President Chakwera said the AstraZeneca vaccine coming to Malawi has 50% to 65% efficacy and that is high enough to save lives.

He said the vaccine also costs less than other vaccine types.

“Presently, there are at least eight different types of vaccine available around the world for protection against Covid-19. Seven of these vaccines, including the AstraZeneca vaccine, require two doses, so the type of vaccine we will receive here requires the same number of shots as most of the other types.

“A second area of interest is the efficacy of the vaccine. Different vaccine types vary in their efficacy, but all of them have an efficacy level above 50 percent. The vaccine type coming to Malawi has an average of 60 to 70 percent efficacy. Although this is a lower efficacy than that of five of the other vaccine types, it is high enough to save millions of lives. In fact, since our only goal is to save lives, the AstraZeneca vaccine has one great advantage over the other vaccines in this regard,” said Chakwera.

Notwithstanding,  Chakwera said, Malawi government will continue monitoring the vaccine options as they are being developed, “so that weare ready to secure what is best for our country.”

Chakwera addressing the nation from  Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe said considering the time it will take to roll out the vaccine across Malawi and considering the logistical and cultural challenges the country must overcome to do so, the best weapon against Covid-19 remains prevention.

“We need to stop healthy people from getting infected, because the rate of infection is still too high,” he said.

The Malawi leader said over the course of the past week, 2987 new infections were confirmed by the testing facilities across the country out of the 13 448 people who were tested.

“This represents a 22 percent positivity rate, and while it is lower than the 29 percent positivity rate from last week, it is still higher than the 0 to 5 percent rate we are aiming for. This is why we have decided to maintain the preventive measures that are in place to stop the spread of infections, including keeping schools closed for another two weeks.

“Admittedly, some of the preventive measures you are having to endure are difficult, because they are disruptive to your social life, your professional life, your academic life, and your economic life. But the continued drop in the rate of infection means that your compliance with the measures is making a difference, so let us keep running this race until we reach the finish line of zero infections,” said Chakwera.

President Chakwera said the hardship of preventing new infections is better than the hardship of treating them.

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Katsinomulewa
Katsinomulewa
5 months ago

Tinakuuzani buy sputnik vaccine from Russia or sino8from China, whose effects do not vary from country to country. Koma kukhulupila azungu andituma azungu andipasa, siizo mufa nazo

mtete
mtete
5 months ago

Was this vaccine opted for because it’s cheaper than the rest, at £3 per dosage? There were some with higher efficacy, up to 92%, and moderately priced.

There is no way the President would have gone for the less effective vaccine without the advice from experts. Cheap can turn into expensive in the end and it is never too late to reconsider the choice of vaccine.

John chidongo
5 months ago

Hahaha ati puresident. Where is Dr Phuka to explain these to the nation. Or dzulo munamuonapo Ramaphosa pa Tv mkayesa panali aMinister oh health pamene paja. Chifukwa ndiye amene angadziwe kulongosola kwake za chipatala. Ndi onse amalankhula anali a chipatala okha okha. Eeee ndiye mukumupondera wamva inu a Chakwera. Kumukhomerera. Ndi amene akufunika adziyankhula nafe ndipo tidzimuona nthawa zonse pa Tv. Koma tozingoona inu ndi umbuli wanuwo basi aaaa. Job description please.

James
James
5 months ago

The problem of speaking as if you had a choice. You have not paid for this and this vaccine will not work on the SA strain so it will not be good for Malawi.
The cheapest is not always the best option and even SA will not bother with this one.

Safunsa Anadya Phula
Safunsa Anadya Phula
5 months ago
Reply to  James

A little knowledge is dangerous, even for public health experts. This vaccine was shown to have very little impact on a small study of 2,000 fairly youthful volunteers (average age 31) for MILD diseases. However ALL Covid vaccines have proved to be very effective for SEVERE SYMPTOMS, hospitalization and DEATH. Therefore refusing this disease is like a hungry person saying sindidya popeza simunandipatse madzi akumwa chonsecho chi msima ndi ndiwo zilipo zambiri. What kind of thinking is this? If you think I am joking, take the trouble to educate yourself more on ALL available Covid 19 vaccines, studies on which… Read more »

Quixote
Quixote
5 months ago

considering that regardless of which vaccine is used, there will be standard costs ( administration, logistics). Does it not make sense to go for a more effective one for our front line workers because theyr e the ones likey to encounter these variants and reserve this one your the population that has a less risk

Safunsa Anadya Phula
Safunsa Anadya Phula
5 months ago
Reply to  James

refusing this VACCINE (not disease!)

Ndafera Nkhande
Ndafera Nkhande
5 months ago

Tidanva kuti mankwala oamewa niopatsidwa ni azungu.Kodi mulufuna kunena kuti inu a boma simugula ndi ndalama zamisonkho mutidulayi? Chibwana ayi tulutsani ndalama mukagule odulawo.MRA imatolera misonkho ma billion pa tsiku ndiye muzidalira zopatsidwa. Petulo adalamulira dzikoli zaka 6 opanda chithandizo cha kunja.Inu mwayamba kuima pa chulu ngati mankhwala achoka mthumba mwanu.

Wakwiya ndi kadeti
5 months ago

Atimaliza coronavirus ameneyu makamaka anthu above 50 years and with underlying conditions. Covid-19 has come to weed us out. The Oxyford vaccine is affordable and can be stored in a normal refrigerator and ideal for shithole countries like Malawi.

Nyekhwe the nyex
Nyekhwe the nyex
5 months ago

This is the same vaccine the government of South Africa has just suspended for being highly ineffective. Mr Talk Talk President fire your adviser for misleading you. It is too early to tell people about vaccines. Focus on prevention, and keep the spread of the virus contained. Za ma vaccine muyaluka nazo. When making these announcements does Zeze have any input? We are losing hope with your leadership.

Last edited 5 months ago by Nyekhwe the nyex
Lorna
Lorna
5 months ago

Mr President’ you speak as if your government paid for the vaccines. Please be clear that you were given these by Covax.
Time to tell us how donors money were spent.UK, USA, Germany, Japan , Ireland and others gave billions last year to fight Covid.

Facts
Facts
5 months ago

Negligence!this should be totally unacceptable people are dying and what are you saying we should prioritise? All talk no leadership totally stupid

Enlightened malawian
Enlightened malawian
5 months ago

Time to consider the Russian sputnik vaccine which is proving affective and xan be sourced quickly and cheaply as we cannot get the Pfizer one yet.

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