Malawi ‘window of hope’ as Covid vaccine arrives ready for first jabs: Businesses should also be prioritised on a cost

After overcoming a spike in cases in January, Malawi is “hopeful” of continued improvement as  first consignment of 360 000 doses of AstraZeneca/ Oxford vaccine from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility arrived in the country on Friday afternoon , ready for the first jabs after five days.

Arrival of Covid-19 Vaccine at KIA.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda led other officials to witness the arrival of the vaccine.(Pics by Joshua Malango)
The Emirates Cargo plane carrying Malawi’s first 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine  at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
Government officials, diplomats and other officials received the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines

The Emirates Cargo plane  carrying Malawi’s first batches of AstraZeneca vaccine touched down at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe at exactly 4pm.

Government officials, diplomats  and other officials were at the airport to receive the consignment.

Minister of Health Khumbidze Chiponda said  the rapid start of immunisation against Covid-19 would not mean the end of the pandemic was in sight but said the jabs will give the country a “window of hope” to ease the devastating impact of the pandemic.

She said the vaccine offers protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death, further calling for intensive civic education to demystify myths surrounding the vaccine.

Chiponda said it was “vitally important” that  Malawians understood the vaccine developed by British-Swede drug maker AstraZeneca was safe.

“There should be no doubt whatever that this is a very safe and highly effective coronavirus vaccine,” she said.

The minister said the vaccines  will be delivered for storage to prepare for immediate distribution.  The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at 2 to 8 C, making it easier to handle, but is less effective at around 70%.

Chiponda  said government will first target frontline health workers as they are at high risk of getting the infection while taking care of patients and suspected cases.

Over 1 500 health workers have been infected with Covid-19 since the pandemic was first registered in the country in April 2020.

Said Chiponda: “It is important that all health workers should be vaccinated to ensure that they are protected. The vaccine will help protect them from Covid-19 infection.

“Apart from the frontline health workers, the first phase will also target other social workers, those that due to nature of their job interact with a lot of people. Getting vaccinated is one of the many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.”

The minister said the vaccine will also help protect the elderly and people with pre-existing chronic condition from becoming severely ill even if they acquired the disease.

Public health experts say some jabs should also be prioritised to businesses event at a cost and their staff as entrepreneurs have to travel regularly for business and have to have a Covid-19 vaccine passport or certificate.

“By charging businesses ,  anyone who can afford will bring extra income for the government to use the same money  to buy more vaccine,” observed one health expert.

In a Covid-19 weekly epidemiology report issued on Wednesday, the Public Health Institute of Malawi under the Ministry of Health said besides the initial 360 000 doses, an additional 99 833 doses from the African Union and 50 000 more from the Government of India are also expected in the country soon.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said government was yet to decide on how many people from the targeted groups will have to get the jab first.

He said: “ For AstraZeneca, you get the vaccine two times, so if someone gets it now, they will be vaccinated again after three months. It has not been decided yet on how many people will get the vaccine in each of the categories.

“People should not worry because more vaccines are coming. We need to understand that transportation is a challenge, even production because the demand is high. But surely, we will get all the vaccines required.”

Last weekend , Malawi received 360 000 syringes and 3 625 safety boxes to be used for Covid-19 vaccinations. Administration of the vaccines is expected to start on March 15 2021, according to Mithi.

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Bwana wa Ulesi
Bwana wa Ulesi
1 month ago

I will be glad if i will see their sons/ grandsons and daughters/granddaughters of Mr President/ Vice, Ministers and the rest. Getting this vacation to clear those conspiracy theories behind the vaccine. Makamaka about birth control. Kuti ngati kuli kusabeleka tonse tisazabeleke.

Chifundo Konse
Chifundo Konse
1 month ago

Priority should be given to our health workers, including doctors and nurses, the civil servants, members of parliament, police, army and other essential workers. Travel is not permitted by most countries so where are your so called businesses to whom ‘health officials’ want to give priority. That suggestion is a perpetuation of the corruption which would see Indians and other foreigners vaccinated whilst Malawians are left exposed.

McBeth Msiyaludzu
1 month ago

I am prepared to be vaccinated, but I should remind the Task Force in it was forgotten. You promised the nation that when the vaccine arrives before use, it will undergo the lab test locally. Is this still your stance or you said this because South has to test the vaccine? I am afraid if you don’t do it, you will have problems to convince the public that the vaccine is safe although persoanlly I know that AstraZaneca is probably the best vaccine amongst the lost that we have so far. I am so shocked after reading some comments that… Read more »

Che Pichesi
Che Pichesi
1 month ago

A UDF alandiranso

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
1 month ago

Nanunso a minister, less effctive chani apa. Dzingothokozani kuti akukumbukaniko ma beggars nu.
And to correct you madam, real data of the people vaccinated so far shows Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine out performing Pfizer after first dose at 57/61% to 60/73% effectively. More and complete data will be published once the majority have been vaccinated with the second dose.

Justice for all
Justice for all
1 month ago

This vaccine it’s free from convax where is Malawi government purchased one I see they will count this one like they bought it count me out of vaccine my immune is good

Hey boss
Hey boss
1 month ago

But is the government giving IDs to those it has vaccinated? Izi ndizo we ena akuti triple six

CEO Self-Employed.
CEO Self-Employed.
1 month ago

Good development; who gets first has been a copy and paste approach. I feel we need to be strategic because our capacity to secure vaccine is limited. I have wondered the logic behind vaccinating a frontline worker leaving a spouse. Psychologically is is traumatising. imagine two sleeping on the same bed one is safe the other is allowed to die. if i was a frantline i would have asked for my spouse as well or no vaccine. I dont think this capitalist mentality of selling or you call it at a cost is politically correct. Its a recipe for corruption.

Bwana wa Ulesi
Bwana wa Ulesi
1 month ago

I saw on BBC last of last week where a bottle of COVAX was lebeled 3/2021 as expirity date by then they were vaccinating UK citizens. Now in Malawi are you expecting kuti tipasidwa wa latest? We have been given the outdated one. Obaisanu zibaisani koma ine count me out.

Mabvuto
Mabvuto
1 month ago
Reply to  Bwana wa Ulesi

Bvuto lako limenelo panga wa vaccine wa expire ya 2083 , osangoyanika bwanji? Komaso sizokakamiza ayi, yankho la aphunzitsi lafika osati kulikira ndrama ayi nonse mukabayidwe , moyo upotsa chuma mutsanamidzidwe ndi DPP iwowo atatseka ma school anakuoatsani allowance?

Bwana wa Ulesi
Bwana wa Ulesi
1 month ago
Reply to  Mabvuto

That’s why amati “Ignorance is a Bliss”.

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
1 month ago
Reply to  Bwana wa Ulesi

Did they tell you that all vaccines were manufactured at the same time hence expiring in March?

Bwana wa Ulesi
Bwana wa Ulesi
1 month ago

Keep on reading between the lines

Opportunist
Opportunist
1 month ago

Muyambire ine pano

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