The Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Gospel Kazako, has commended Malawians for up and seek clarification from duty-bearers on the Covid-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University.
President Lazarus Chakwera, in his weekly Covid-19 update on January 31, said government had secured doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to give as many citizens as possible immunity against Covid-19.
Chakwera said the vaccines will be administered on 20 percent of the country’s total population.
But the news was received with mixed reactions as some quarters of the society feels the vaccine is not safe.
Yet still, some faith leaders have been warning their flocks to shun the vaccine, claiming it marks the end of the world.
This has prompted the government to engage faith leaders in a discussion to reach a common ground for fighting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
And speaking at the Covid-19 Joint Faith Community Response and Adaptation Framework Validation Meeting in Lilongwe on Thursday, Kazako assured faith leaders that the government will be transparent in the administration of the vaccine.
“As government, we are fully aware of the people’s rights to know what sort of vaccine is being injected into their bodies. So, we are not surprised that the coming in of the vaccine has ignited debate among various stakeholders and we are encouraged by such a debate because it borders on the health of people,” said the minister.
Kazako disclosed that the major objective of the meeting was to create a platform for both the church and the government to hear each other’s concerns.
He emphasized that since the citizenry hold more allegiance to the church than to the State, it is imperative that the two institutions should partner in the administration of the vaccine and the whole fight against the pandemic.
Kazako further stated that faith groups have a duty to clear the mistrust that some have created among citizens about the aim of the vaccine.
“We know that without people, there would be no government and without people there would be no church. This means both the church and the government are serving one people. And, therefore, the church and the government must work together to address the socioeconomic issues that are affecting the people,” he emphasized.
The Malawi Interfaith Aids Association (MIAA) board chairperson, Bishop Gilford Matonga, expressed concern over the alleged hasty decisions the government has been making in its efforts to contain the pandemic.
Matonga said the government has not been consulting widely before taking decisions.
Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr John Phuka is on record as having said the country will need to vaccinate between 60 percent and 80 percent of the population to achieve the herd immunity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :