Government says it will not tolerate anyone in a position of authority to abuse the ongoing administration of vaccines by trying to ’jump the queue’ and give the jabs to family and friends instead of the intended vulnerable groups.
Presidential spokesperson, Brian Banda sounding the warning bell on Monday during a State House bi-weekly press briefing cautioned:
“The Government of (the Republic of) Malawi will not allow any person of authority, such as being in charge of the process or in the administration of the vaccine to abuse such powers and position in order to give the vaccine to his family, relatives or friends instead of the intended and vulnerable recipients.
“If such unscrupulous and twisted-mind people are caught, they will be brought to justice and face the long arm of the law. The ministry of health has put in place measures to monitor the process to ensure that nobody is abusing the vaccines.”
Banda said the Malawi leader wants every Malawian to be safe from the pandemic and he expects nothing, but an honest transaction as regards the administration of the vaccine.
“This matter is non-negotiable. Anyone found on the wrong side of the law, rules and procedures will be dealt accordingly and without mercy as the vaccine is a matter of life and death. President Chakwera wants a smooth run of the administration of the vaccination,” said Banda.
Banda said President Chakwera is positive that everything will go as planned but in the same vein the head of state appeal to all Malawians and everyone to take vaccination so that everybody can be protected.
“The President takes the fight against the pandemic with utter seriousness and Malawi to win the war against Covid but that is possible only if every citizen is taking part in the fight,” said Banda.
Malawi received COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO. This is a historic step towards the goal of COVAX to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally, in what will be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
The delivery is part of a first wave of arrivals in Africa, and the first tranche of allocations for Malawi that will take place in the coming months and year through the COVAX Facility.
The COVAX Facility shipped 360,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Serum Institute of India from Mumbai, India, to Lilongwe, Malawi, arriving on the evening of 5 March and this marked a milestone for Malawi in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 1000 lives and created a heavy burden on health facilities.
‘Testament to Scientifics’
The Government of Malawi has also received 360,000 bundled syringes and 3,625 safety boxes for safe disposal of syringes for COVID 19 vaccination through the COVAX Facility. An additional 2.1 million and 21,600 safety boxes have been dispatched by sea for Malawi arriving mid-March.
According to Banda, Malawi has identified priority groups who will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. These include health care workers, including those working in the private sector, who are at higher risk of COVID 19 infection than the general population due to the nature of their work, and more likely to be affected by COVID-19.
Also included in phase one are police, immigration, Malawi Defence Force, prison warders, prisoners, teachers, those 60 years and above, and people with underlying conditions.
The WHO Representative for Malawi, Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini said: “WHO acclaims and congratulates Malawi for preparing the country for the deployment of the vaccines whose arrival we have witnessed today. To achieve their timely and successful introduction, it took a multisectoral collaboration across many sectors. WHO reiterates the purpose of the COVAX facility which is to ensure fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines regardless of a country’s wealth status.”
Veronica Mukhuna, Communications Officer, WHO Malawi said; “The World Health Organization country office in Malawi has been working with Expanded Program on Immunization of the Ministry of Health from the outset in all activities that led to successful application for COVID19 vaccine from the COVAX Facility.”
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Accessto Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others.
Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance said, “COVAX’s mission is to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible by enabling global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI said: “This is a landmark moment in our efforts to get life-saving vaccine to the world. The fact that we now have multiple safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 developed in record time is testament to the scientific community and industry rising to the challenge of this pandemic. “
COVAX has built a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations and is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the globe in 2021, including at least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses to the 92 lower-income COVAX Facility participants supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :