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Covid vaccines expiry fears loom

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Maziko Matemba

There are fears that the country might destroy some doses of the Covid vaccine, especially those of Oxford- AstraZeneca, which may expire by September 30 2021 if the problem of low uptake persists.

According to Ministry of Health data, the country has 87,805 doses of Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine that have to be administered before the expiry date. The country also has 62,095 doses of Johnson & Johnson to be administered before the end of November.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the ministry was doing everything possible to ensure that people appreciate the role of vaccines in the attainment of the country’s health goals.

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“We are very optimistic that we will finish the vaccine doses before the expiry dates. As we are talking, we have upped our game. We are taking the vaccine to colleges, universities and are even vaccinating people during weekends,” Chikumbe said.

He, however, lamented the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation, saying they were hampering the administration of vaccines in the country.

Health expert Maziko Matemba has described the low uptake of the vaccine and the expiry fears as genuine concerns.

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“The uptake of the vaccines has not been satisfactory enough for us to reach the goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of eligible people by the end of next year,” Matemba said.

On Sunday, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda cited low uptake of Covid vaccines as one of the challenges being faced in the country.

She cited the Southern Region as having the lowest rate of vaccine uptake.

Chiponda called for massive awareness.

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