Only 8 percent of Malawians are vaccinated against Covid-19

Only eight percent of Malawians have been vaccinated against Covid-19 against an initial target of 30 per cent in 2021, the Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, has disclosed.

Health Minister Chiponda with UNICEF Director

Chiponda made the remarks on Tuesday during the joint launch of second phase Covid-19 Vaccine Express Programme with UNICEF at Nsaru Trading Centre in Lilongwe.

She said the first phase of the program, which was launched in November 2021, started well with many people going for vaccination at the very beginning. But the numbers have been dropping drastically over the months.

“This was due to issues of hesitancy, misinformation coupled with challenges of long distances to static vaccination sites,” she said.

As a ministry in collaboration with partners, she said, they decided to put in place additional strategies to make it easy for the communities to get vaccinated in order to reduce the impact of the disease as well as increase the rates in the country.

As a continuation in the second phase, she said, they are targeting 11 million people by December 2022.

Unicef East and Southern Africa Regional Director, Mohamed Mallik Fall, said the effort to reach the unreached through the Express program has lessened the impacts of the pandemic and has proved to be a significant strategy for rapid scale up of the vaccination exercise.

“Indeed, it is a great strategic step taken by the government towards a rapid roll out of Covid 19 vaccination among all population groups,” he said.

Fall further said the government has a strong commitment including adopting a bold 70 per cent population target by the end of this year.

He emphasized the importance of collaboration and partnerships especially at the grassroots level in order for the government to achieve its targets.

Just like in phase one of the programme, the second phase will continue reaching out to communities through doorstep vaccination to all districts in the country, reducing pocket costs for the marginalized communities.

The program will also prevent needless travels to health centres as well as integrating Covid-19 vaccines with routine vaccination services among others.

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