By Wezzie Gausi:
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has said the rollout of Pfizer Covid vaccination for children has been delayed, attributing the development to technical hiccups.
The rollout of the vaccine was scheduled for last week, targeting children aged between 12 and 17 years.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda recently told reporters that the World Health Organisation had certified Pfizer as the only safe vaccine that could be given to children against Covid.
However, MoH spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the ministry failed to roll out the vaccination exercise because it had some vaccines that were set to expire and ministry officials had to concentrate on administering it.
He said the ministry was ready to start vaccinating children from the first week of January 2022.
“We must apologise for not starting the vaccination exercise last week as announced by the minister. We, as a ministry, were caught up in a situation beyond our control. We needed to make sure that the remaining vaccines that were about to expire were used.
“As such, our healthcare workers were up and down vaccinating people with the remaining doses,” Chikumbe said.
Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director George Jobe said the government should realise that there is a big demand for children’s vaccines.
He said some parents would want their children to be vaccinated before schools open for the first term, come January 2022.
“We want to encourage the ministry to act with agency and roll out the vaccines. We would like to have Pfizer in health centres, where parents can get their children vaccinated against Covid, in addition to mobile clinics,” Jobe said.