Malawi on Saturday took delivery of an additional 168 800 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses provided under the Covax Facility.
Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda said in a statement that the expectation was that the arrival of the doses through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe will increase the number of the country’s vaccinated population.
Reads the statement: “The vaccines we have received will help to reach out to those people that had received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and are due to receive the second dose, thereby increasing the fully vaccinated population in our country.”
The new 168 800 AstraZeneca doses consignment, courtesy of Sweden through the multi-donor platform Covax Facility, are part of an assorted consignment of vaccines scheduled to arrive with some having already arrived.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr.Charles Mwansambo told The Nation on Thursday that an additional 360 000 AstraZeneca doses are expected to arrive this week or mid-September.
He said 372 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are also scheduled to arrive before the end of September.
While urging people to go to government and Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham) hospitals to get vaccinated, the update stressed on the need to adhere to all laid out preventive measures to avoid getting infected.
According to the update, local transmissions continue to dominate, meaning chances of people getting infected are high; hence, it is important for people to get tested to know their status.
The update also pointed out that while prevention measures must be followed all the time, vaccination is very important as it reduces severity of the disease.
“Additionally, it is important that those that are aged 18 years and above are vaccinated against Covid-19 to reduce the risk of developing severe disease, risk of hospitalisation and deaths when they contract Covid-19,” further reads the update.
From July, the country has so far received 302 400 doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J and J) vaccine and 284 200 doses of the AstraZeneca doses that arrived on separate occasions.
The vaccines are being provided by the Covax Facility which is a global 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).
Two weeks ago, British High Commission charge d’affaires Fiona Ritchie said the United Kingdom has pledged to donate 100 million vaccines to the country by June 2022.