Covid vaccine uptake figures dwindle
The country has started observing a decrease in the number of people flocking to Covid vaccination centres.
The development has prompted Ministry of Health officials to sound the alarm, fearing that, if the trend continues, it would be difficult for it to reach its 11 million vaccination target by 2023.
The ministry has further warned that there could be another wave of Covid.
The Daily Times has established that, while people are still trekking to Covid vaccination centres, the numbers are not as overwhelming as before.
Karonga District Director of Health Services David Sibale said, for instance, that the number of those getting inoculated had dropped from 200 to less.
“We are now vaccinating between 80 and 100 people daily,” he said.
Dedza District Health Office spokesperson Mwayi Liabunya said the number of those getting vaccinated in the district had also gone down.
Health rights advocate Maziko Matemba said the drop could be because, when Oxford-AstraZeneca second doses came— after people had waited for a long time after getting the first dose—demand was high.
“But, now, some people are procrastinating, maybe because vaccines are continuously coming into the country. We need to encourage people to get vaccinated now,” he said.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the country had a long way to go to meet its vaccination target.
“We want to vaccinate as many people as possible now but we are having a lot of disinformation and, then, we are having lower numbers of new cases. Maybe people think we are done.
“But we can get into the fourth wave [of Covid]. Until the World Health Organisation declares that we are free, we cannot relax,” Chikumbe said.
Chikumbe said taking vaccines to community members was one of the ways of reaching out to as many people as possible.
Recently, Medical Doctors Society of Malawi President Victor Mithi bemoaned decreasing turnout to Covid vaccination centres.
By Saturday last week, about 430,400 people were fully vaccinated from Covid, which has so far claimed over 2,000 lives in the country.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.