Malawi Government says Malawians will soon start receiving different regimes of vaccines, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to its list of Covid vaccines as one way of toughening means of dealing with the persistent shortage of the incumbent Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccine in the country to curb the ravaging global pandemic.
The new vaccines are expected to arrive in Africa by August.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda revealed Tuesday during a handover ceremony of 56 ambulances donated by the Global Fund to Malawi that government has decided to get more new different vaccines in order to have as many people get vaccinated as a way of protecting the population from the jaws of Covid-19.
Kandodo Chiponda said the government has decided to opt for Pfizer as the country has run out of AstraZeneca doses because Covid has hit hard India, which is the manufacturing country for the product.
She said: “Malawi has the capacity to manage the storage and usage of Pfizer, and, therefore, we have added Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson to the list of our vaccines. We have also added Johnson & Johnson.”
“We are going to give Malawians different options. We do not want to put ourselves in a corner where we stick to only one vaccine because, when there are problems. then you have nowhere to go,” she said.
At the function, the World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosed that Malawi would be among African countries that would benefit from 20 million doses of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Covid.
WHO Representative to Malawi, Nonhlanhla Rosemary Dlamini, said the vaccine was a donation from the United States through the Covid Vaccine Access facility in coordination with the African Union.
Dlamini urged Malawi and other African countries to start setting up ultra-cold chain storage facilities for other types of vaccines including Pfizer.
She said a key driver to accelerate vaccine uptake on the continent is to upgrade the cold-chain capacity to store and handle vaccines such as Pfizer.
“The initial approved long term storage was -70°Centigrade [degrees Celsius]. Updated guidance from WHO and European Medicines Agency extends the storage requirements to 2-8° Centigrade for 31 days.
“This means that the vaccine can be shipped and stored at national level at an ultra-cold storage for six months,” Dlamini said.
When districts are ready, the vaccine can be distributed, stored at fridge temperature and be used for not more than 31 days.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :