Japan bails out Malawi with the depleted AstraZeneza Covid-19 vaccines

The Government of Japan on Saturday handed 277, 080 doses of AstraZeneca to the Malawi Government effectively enabling authorities at the Capital Hill to replenish stock in public hospitals.

The hospitals have been running without AstraZeneca for the past two months, a development that threatened the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Satoshi Iwakiri, said his government has committed to donating 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Africa through the COVAX Facility.

Satoshi Iwakiri

Iwakiri said this is in support of the global ambition to vaccinate 70 percent of the world population by mid 2022 and also in a bid to promote fair and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines against Covid-19 worldwide.

“Japan has donated over 30 million doses to developing countries, including Malawi, and plans to donate additional 60 million doses through the COVAX Facility and other arrangements. Additionally, support amounting to 13.7 billion Japanese Yen (approximately MK98 trillion) has been provided to 59 countries in various regions under Japan’s ‘Last One Mile Support’ initiative aimed at establishing a cold chain system for the delivery of vaccinations,” he said.

Chiponda (in reflector jacket) paying homage to Iwakiri–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Iwakiri disclosed that his government is committed to donating more doses to Malawi to address emerging needs of the vaccine.

“It is my hope that today’s donation will address the country’s vaccine needs and will also contribute to diminishing infection rates of Covid-19. I am also most hopeful of improved uptake of the vaccines and wish to encourage stakeholders to maximize sensitization efforts,” he said.

In her acceptance remarks, the Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, said the vaccines had come at the right time when a total of 699, 820 people are waiting to get their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Chiponda therefore advised people who received the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccines and 12 weeks have elapsed to get the second dose of the same AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Let me also report that a total of 1,919,701 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country so far. These are total doses for all the three COVID-19 vaccines being used in the country. Additionally, 802,817 people have been fully vaccinated,” she said.

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