Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda says her ministry is satisfied with the Covid-19 vaccination exercise underway despite some negativity against the vaccine.
The minister said this in Blantyre on Friday when she handed over K12 million worth of products from Unilever Malawi, for the Covid-19 fight, to the country’s three main central hospitals of Queen Elizabeth, Kamuzu and Mzuzu.
She, however, said the exercise somehow slowed following the expiry of about 15 200 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine last week.
Said Chiponda: “The vaccines which expired were from one batch and we removed them from all the vaccination centres. We are giving out vaccines from different batches and they are safe.
“It is a requirement to achieve the immunity we need. We need at least 10 million people vaccinated and we have over 220 000 people vaccinated and with no adverse impacts.”
She said government expects to receive another consignment of one million doses by June.
According to Ministry of Health, the expired doses were part of the 102 000 doses which government received from the African Union.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo, who accompanied the minister during the handover, said the donation from the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) facility expires in June while part of that from India will expire in July.
Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital director Samson Mndolo encouraged people to get vaccinated, saying the vaccines are safe.
“Medicines almost always have some effects, but we weigh the benefits against the risk and the benefits of having the vaccines are massive,” he said.
The Malawi Government received the first consignment of 360 000 doses from the Covax facility in early March before receiving another batch of 50 000 doses from the Government of India and 102 000 doses from AU, bringing the total number of doses in the country to 512 000.