Malawi acquires  Covid-19 vaccine: Chakwera says AstraZeneca jab  to give immunity, local scientists sequencing virus

President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday evening announced that Malawi– has finally secured doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which government will give to “as many citizens as  possible” for immunity against the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Chakwera : Malawi’s  scientists in local labs will verify the safety of  AstraZeneca’s Covid jab

Chakwera disclosed this on Sunday evening when he addressed the nation on the ongoing war against the Covid-19 pandemic, describing the acquisition of the vaccine as a breakthrough in the raging fight.

“The first consignment of the vaccine will arrive at the end  of February in readiness for roll out in March, starting with 20 percent of the population, which  will prioritize frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions,” said Chakwera.

President Chakwera said Malawi’s  scientists in local labs will verify the safety of  AstraZeneca’s Covid jab and said he will disseminate the information  “so that no one is misled by social media lies and  propaganda against vaccinations that the scientific community has worked hard to provide to save lives.”

In his address, aired live on state broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Chakwera also announced that, for the first time, Malawi’s scientists at the Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust (MLW) lab at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital  in Blantyre now have the capacity to sequence the virus that causes Covid-19, a development he described as another breakthrough in the fight against the pandemic.

He added that Malawi has partnered with the African and US Centres for Disease Control to bring the same capacity to the National Public Health lab in Lilongwe.

“Being able to sequence the virus will reduce our reliance on labs in South Africa for that service. As a demonstration of the significance of this viral sequencing capacity, it has been confirmed that the new strain of the virus from South Africa is indeed here in Malawi,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera said it was right to treat the new wave with the seriousness it demanded and stay the course in preventing it from spreading.

The President further said he has directed the Ministry of Health to ensure that “our scientists at the Malawi College of Medicine are fully engaged in these developments within our labs”.

He said: “Taking ownership of our own scientific research into this virus is not only important for national pride, but also for national security in ensuring the credibility and safety of policies and programs that Government implements. One practical example where our scientists will be needed as a security measure is in the roll out of the acquired vaccine.”

The Malawi leader then paid tribute to people who have succumbed to Covid-19, saying “we devote ourselves to honour their memory by complying with the measures for stopping this virus from spreading”.

President Chakwera said the past week alone, the country  lost 161 people to Covid-19 including legendary musician Mtebeti Wambali Mkandawire.

Paying his tribute, Chakwera described Wambali as “Malawi’s greatest musical icon and champion of her cultural heritage.”

He said: “We join the bereaved families of all 161 people in mourning their passing.”

During the same address, President Chakwera also updated the nation on the progress the country has made on testing, containment and treatment of Covid-19.

For instance, on testing, the President said out of the 77 testing sites he ordered to be established, he reported that 62 have been completed, while 51 500 testing kits have been distributed countrywide.

“We have also stocked our warehouse with 150 000 testing kits, which will last us the whole month of February while a new consignment is on the way,” he said.

And on treatment, Chakwera had this to say, “last week I announced that we would be recruiting an additional 1 380 medical personnel to send to the frontlines of the fight. I am happy to report that 1 128 of these have been identified, and they will be receiving their letters of appointment in the next 48 hours, while interviews continue to recruit the remaining 252.

“Today we have opened the field hospital at Bingu National Stadium with 240 beds. In fact, 80 patients from Bwaila Hospital and KCH have already been transferred there and are receiving high-quality life-saving care as we speak. We owe our thanks for this accomplishment to the Malawi Engineering Institution”.

Meanwhile, commentators have urged government to open dialogue and  intensify awareness on vaccine saying its acceptance is influence by several factors.

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Old timers
Old timers
10 months ago

It seems, president Chakwera is telling lies to Malawians. He has acquired the vaccine, and will be in the country February and start the jab in march. First and foremost, European countries are struggling to get the vaccine,to reach there countries and some, it’s only next month they will be receiving, which is march. Is it maybe Malawi is the lucky nation to bypass European countries who are struggling to get the vaccine and reach Malawi first, that’s totally impossible. Mr President can you tell Malawians the truth. It seems that, the president has acquired the vaccine from India via… Read more »

Kondwa
Kondwa
10 months ago

Testing Testing on Malawians
Am speaking in parables,zz
Let’s watch out

John chidongo
10 months ago

Auzeni zoona anthu a Chakwera kuti vaccine ndi ma Benefit aku AOU simunagule sizopangirapo kampeni apa mwayaluka. Tamva ku South Africa akunena kuti maiko osauka apukumukira kumeneko ndi all illigal immigrants amene ali ku South Africa. I heared who so called Nkhumbize Kadondo ngati kuti mwachita ku gula. Truth gaves light. Ndalama mwachita nazo chani inu zimene mukuti mwagulirira vaccine. Tidziwepo pamenepa.

syringe of monsanto
syringe of monsanto
10 months ago

Since goverment officials are vips. Ayambe kulandira the syringe of satan iwowo. Anthu akufa ndi vaccine. so wakumva amve.

Psyuta
10 months ago

Chakwera and baby chilima must be the first to receive the jab. What ever shall happen to them we shall loose nothing.

Joloza
10 months ago

How do you verify the vaccine after it’s already acquired? Isn’t that foolishness?

Nyoni
Nyoni
10 months ago

Tifwenge. This lying talk talk president will get most of us killed. Even the uk is failing to vaccinate its people despite using war time rules to prioritise and manufacture. Teachers and health workers will be vaccinated in late summer. Kuti vaccine azatigaile Ife amphawife mpaka Tonse kulandila silero. This man is really a lying m’busa always just talking rubbish like made up stories at the pulpit. He thinks we are a mbuzi congregation.2023 is when the rest of the world gets it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nyoni
National Ceo
National Ceo
10 months ago

Is it real vaccine or fake version? If AstraZeneca is failing to fulfil its contractual obligation in Europe, will it fulfil in Malawi? At least if it was Russian Sputnik, or Chinese Sinovac, I would have agreed.

Koka
Koka
10 months ago
Reply to  National Ceo

Been thinking and saying the same. EU is desperate to get their pre-ordered vaccines. UK hasn’t got enough supply as well. UK has so far vaccinated 8 million’ish people. This is small proportion AstraZeneca is supplying the vaccines on first come first in first out. UK ordered the vaccine many moons ago while the vaccine was under trials in May 2020. The EU ordered their vaccines in August 2020 but still haven’t got their share of vaccines. In the light of these, it is easy to work out where Malawi falls in the queue. The other challenge is getting enough… Read more »

Hardy
Hardy
10 months ago

Paja munati we are all in this together. Therefore let us not see ministers and their families in the forefront receiving the vaccine ahead of their time.

John chidongo
10 months ago

Kulubwa lubwa basi asankhokhala kaye chite mpaka vaccine ifike. Walk talk. Kaya ndiye inu aChakwera ndi phumalo muntha kukhala pa u Pulesident wa AOU kaya. Mpuma kwambiri.

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