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Covid-19 full blown

WHO warns as Malawi runs out of vaccine

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Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda

World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti has said Africa is now in the midst of a full blown third wave of Covid-19 and needs vaccine doses ‘here and now’ if it is going to contain the pandemic.

The development comes as Malawi has fast run out of the vaccines, with the Blantyre District Health Office and Lilongwe District Health Office among the first to alert residents of the development yesterday.

“The public is being informed that Blantyre District Health Office has run out of Covid-19 vaccine as of 17th June 2021. Blantyre DHO regrets for any inconvenience the stock out may have caused,” reads a statement, signed by Gift Kawalazira who is the district’s Director of Health and Social Services.

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On the other hand, the Lilongwe District Health Office urged people who received the first jab in the capital city but failed to get the jab after the lapse of the 12 week period not to panic as they will get their vaccine later.

“We are therefore appealing for compliance to all people on self-quarantine to adhere to rules in order to reduce risk of infection and prevent coronavirus disease,” reads a statement, signed by Director of Health and Social Services, Alinafe Mbewe Tambala.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, has said government is working hard to ensure that it gets the highly anticipated 900,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine shots from bilateral donors

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“It’s unfortunate that we had to destroy 19000 doses of the Covid-19 due to the expiry of the vaccine, it’s good that now Malawians have seen the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine,” she said.

Chiponda said it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that they are following public health preventive measures.

In his statement, Moeti said Malawi and all other African countries need urgent action to stop further spread of the virus

“Lack of adherence to transmission prevention measures has fuelled the new surge that coincides with colder seasonal weather in southern Africa and as more contagious variants spread, Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout is picking-up speed, with over 5 million doses administered in the past five days, compared with around 3.5 million doses per week for the past three weeks,” he said.

The WHO Africa chief added that almost 12 million people are now fully vaccinated, but that it is still less than 1% of Africa’s population.

Covid-19 cases rose to over 116 500 in the week ending on 13 June, up from the previous week’s nearly 91 000 cases, following one month of progressively rising case numbers that pushed the continent over the 5 million case mark.

In 22 African countries— nearly 40% of Africa’s 54 nations—cases rose by over 20% in the week ending on 13 June. During the same week, deaths rose by nearly 15% to over 2200 in 36 countries.

New cases recorded weekly in Africa have now exceeded half of the second wave peak of more than 224 000 weekly cases in early January 2021.

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