Malawi is among countries that have failed to vaccinate 10 percent of the targeted population against Covid-19 by the end of September, data from World Health Organisation (WHO) shows.
By Monday, Malawi had only managed to fully vaccinate 474 392 people, representing a paltry 4.3 percent of the targeted 60 percent of the population or 11 million to reach herd immunity. Malawi needed to vaccinate 1.1 million to reach the 10 percent target, according to the data.
So far, only 13 countries on the African continent have managed to beat the WHO target with Seychelles topping the table after vaccinating 72 percent of its targeted population.
Closer home, South Africa has vaccinated 12 percent of the population, Zimbabwe 13 percent, Mozambique 10.66 percent, Zambia 3.36 percent and Tanzania sits at the bottom, having vaccinated only 0.57 percent of the population.
Health experts yesterday decried the shunning of the jabs.
They argued that the citizenry need to be patriotic and responsible enough in averting the dangers of the pandemic through vaccination.
Physicians Assistants Union of Malawi (Paum) president Solomon Chomba yesterday said Covid-19 vaccines have, so far, proved effective and are providing a clear roadmap for economic recovery.
He said: “As it stands now during the third wave, more than 84 percent of hospitalised patients are non-vaccinanted individuals whose majority has been from the rural set-up and the elderly.
“From the same hospitalised patients, 12 percent had received single dose of AstraZeneca while 4 percent had been fully vaccinated.”
Chomba warned that if Malawians continue to shun the jab, the country risks to be seriously hit by another wave by December this year.
Echoing Chomba’s sentiments, epidemiologist Dr Titus Divala said there was need to make strong efforts to understand why people are shunning the Covid-19 vaccine and address those challenges.
He said: “We need to consider changing the face of the response from healthcare workers and government officials, to authorities that people identify with and listen to local community leaders, faith leaders, and councillors.
“We need to move venues of these vaccinations from health facilities, to community gathering places, markets, mosques, churches, and chief headquarters. In the UK, mosques and churches are vaccination now centres.”
In an interview yesterday, Minister of National Unity and Civic Education Timothy Mtambo yesterday assured that government has done a lot in ensuring that people are aware of the vaccines, but some quarters have continue to resist the jab.
He said: “We have been to almost all areas of the country. You listen to every radio station, there is message on Cobid-19 and the vaccines, but some people have just chosen to be deviants. But we will not get tired, we will continue educating people about the importance of getting vaccinated.”
Minister of Health Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda, in her daily update on Monday, said the country has adequate stocks of AstraZeneca and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines in all the vaccination sites.
Cumulatively, Malawi has received 1 403 390 vaccine doses in different shipments, that include 1 099 040 doses of the double-dose AstraZeneca and 304 350 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine which is taken once. Out of these, 19 000 doses of AstraZeneca were destroyed in April.