Local doctor s organisations have backed the introduction of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in the country despite findings that it is less effective against mild cases of the South African strain that is currently spreading globally.
The Society of Medical Doctors (SMD), Medical Association of Malawi, Medical Doctors Union of Malawi and Women Doctors Association of Malawi, held a joint press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday to dispel various rumours that the vaccine is less effective.
Malawi expects to receive over one million doses of the vaccine by end of this month but following a move by South Africa to suspend it over efficacy concerns, there have been concerns on whether Capital Hill should proceed with the campaign.
But SMD president Dr Victor Mithi said although the vaccination project has been suspended in South Africa, it was premature for
Malawi to follow suit.
He said: “We don’t know how much of the South African strain we have in the country. We also have to understand that there are different strains, including those from United Kingdom and South America.
“We also have to remember that the first strain is still in our country. So, it is too early to make conclusions and stop the vaccine from being administered in the country.”
Mithi said at the rate the coronavirus is spreading, the country has no choice but to push for the vaccine to be administered.
The medical bodies also dismissed as false rumours that the Covid-19 vaccine contains satellite tracking chips and chemical agents that cause impotence.
Said Medical Association of Malawi president Dr Grace Mary Chiudzu: “The vaccines, including the one that Malawi has selected AstraZeneca, are safe and approved for use after careful examination.”
Mean while , the organisations have condemned the harassment of health workers over accusations related to wrong Covid-19 diagnosis.
There have been incidents of guardians beating health workers in Balaka, Blantyre and Lilongwe.
Speaking at the briefing, Medical Council of Malawi acting registrar Dr Richard Ndovi urged those with grievances over health workers handling of Covid-19 cases to complain through the institution