The Freedom of Worship Association of Malawi (FOWAM) has written the government, expressing its concern and reservations over the government’s decision to go-ahead to roll out the administration of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in combating coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The association, through a statement made available to Nyasa Times, argues that administering the vaccine amid concerns on its efficacy would be putting the lives of innocent Malawiamns at risk and people would rather believe in divine immunity.
The statement, which has been co-signed founder and overseer of the Living Word Evangelical Church (LIWEC), Prophet David Mbewe, as the president of the association and his public relations officer, Ras Jerafaya Geoffrey Phomea, warns that if authorities at the Capital Hill do not address their concerns, they will mobilize their faithful not to take the vaccine.
Mbewe and Phomea it is unfortunate that the government intends to roll out the mass Covid-19 vaccination before trials of the vaccine on human being has not been done in Malawi to ascertain its efficacy and side effects.
“It is our contention that this will be putting lives of innocent Malawians at a great risk. You may wish to note that even South Africa has had to suspend vaccination of its citizens following questionable efficacy to the Covid-19 variant prevalent in this southern region of Africa,” the statement reads.
“In light of the foregoing, we expect to hear from how you intend to address issues raised. If we do not hear from you promptly, we will be left with no choice, but to mobilize the faithful in Malawi not to receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine,” Mbewe and Phomea warn.
Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda said government has engaged faith groups, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, the media and legislators in a sensitisation campaign on the safety of the vaccine.
Said the minister: “We are not against people discussing it or asking questions about the vaccine. People have to ask as many questions as they can, and we will happily address those questions. Our greatest concern is when lies are recklessly peddled against the vaccine.
“Many Malawians begin to believe these unfounded and negative messages and they are afraid. This vaccine is safe. We desperately need this vaccine to save lives. Our specialists and doctors are involved in the whole process.”
Chiponda emphasised that the vaccine is not compulsory, adding it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to urgently spread the success message on the vaccine to the masses and help to dismiss the unfounded theories making rounds.
In his national address on Sunday evening, President Lazarus Chakwera said the country will go ahead with acquiring the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, despite concerns about its efficacy.
Chakwera announced that Malawi has acquired 1.5 million doses and that additional ones were on the way to vaccinate a total of about four and a half million people.
He disclosed that Malawi settled for the AstraZeneca vaccine because it is the most affordable for the resource-constrained country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :