Ministry of Health (MoH) says a total of 1 054 636 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have so far been administered in the country since the rolling out of the vaccination campaign in March.
MoH Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo said in a statement that 811 199 people have received the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine while 243 437 people have so far received the Johnson and Johnson (J and J) single-dose vaccines.
He said that for the double-dose AstraZeneca, 557 761 people have the first dose while 253 438 people were fully vaccinated with two doses of AstraZeneca.
This means that 496 875 people are fully vaccinated.
Mwansambo said: “To date, a total of 1 727 790 vaccine doses have been received in the country in different shipments. Out of these, 1 425 440 doses are AstraZeneca and 304 350 doses are of Johnson & Johnson. The vaccines have been coming in different shipments.”
While urging those aged 18 and above to get vaccinated, he assured the public of adequate stocks of the vaccines in the country.
According to an update on the vaccination from MoH, the ministry has so far vaccinated 4.5 percent of the population.
The update also stressed that the ministry used all the doses that were due to expire on September 30.
The vaccines the country has been receiving are being provided by the Covax Facility, a multi-donor initiative intended to secure equitable access to vaccines. It is led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and supported by partners such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
Initially, the ministry planned to vaccinate 11 million people or 60 percent of the country’s critical population by December 2022, a deadline that was set by the WHO for countries.
However, public health experts have cast doubts that the country will meet the intended target by the set deadline due to a number of factors.
In an interview last month, infectious disease and public health expert Dr Titus Divala said MoH risks being inefficient in its approach and may fail to reach the most critical part of the vaccination programme in ensuring that all individuals at highest risk of severe disease or death are reached.
President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima led the vaccine rollout on March 11 2021 separately at Zomba State Lodge Field Hospital and Mzuzu Central Hospital.