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Covid jabs: Malawi bottom 3rd in Sadc

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HIGH AMONG THE UNVACCINATED—Covid deaths

Malawi is the third worst country in terms of the number of people vaccinated against Covid in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region, our assessments have found.

At 3.6 percent as the fraction of people that are fully inoculated in the country, Malawi has only surpassed the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has vaccinated 0.13 percent of its population and Tanzania, which has had 2.27 percent vaccinated as of Friday.

Updates by the World Health Organisation show that Malawi has 9.1 percent of doses administered to people in the country so far.

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In Sadc, the archipelago of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean leads in vaccinating in its population at 79.58 percent.

Data released by the Public Health Institute of Malawi (Phim) shows that 1.1 million people have received their first dose of AstraZeneca while 399,048 have received the second dose of the same type of vaccine.

On top of that, 336,504 have been vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, bringing the number of people fully inoculated to 735,555.

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Epidemiologist Titus Divala said in an interview yesterday that the vaccination target for Africa was 40 percent by the end of last year with only seven percent of countries on the continent meeting that mark.

“Malawi may be behind other countries but the main headline is that Africa and all low-income countries are behind,” Divala said.

The epidemiologist attributed the low uptake of the inoculation to inefficiencies by governments in planning, procurement and implementation of the vaccine programmes.

“Access to the commodity is extremely limited by the selfishness of rich countries. As of the beginning of 2022, over four billion people, which is half of the planet’s population, were fully vaccinated.

“When broken down, these numbers translate to nearly 80 percent for people in high-income countries and less than eight percent in low-income countries,” Divala said.

He added that the second reason for the low acceptance in Malawi is widespread misinformation and just lack of good understanding of the value of the vaccine by many people.

“This means it takes a lot of resources simply to convince people to take this invaluable lifesaving intervention. The process is extremely costly and requires a lot of time and human resources in quantities we do not have as a country,” he said.

Data from Phim further shows that between November 29 and January 7, 2022, at least 99 people have died of Covid out of which 94 were unvaccinated, translating to 95 percent of total deaths being of those who were not jabbed.

Another assessment of the Phim daily reports shows that during the six days to last Friday, 200 people had been admitted with Covid out of which 167 were unvaccinated.

As of Friday, Malawi had recorded 79,082 cases of Covid, including 2,407 deaths, representing a case fatality rate of 3.04 percent.

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