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‘Expect Covid vaccines within 6 days’

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By Patience Lunda:

The Ministry of Health has said the 192,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccines that did not arrive on July 15 due to logistical challenges will be in the country within six days.

While not being specific, Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo Tuesday said doses of other vaccines were expected to arrive in Malawi from this month to September.

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Mwansambo said the vaccines that would arrive in six days were purchased through United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund and were being stored in Copenhagen, Denmark.

According to the ministry, a total of 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine are expected within a fortnight, a consignment of 360,000 doses of Oxford- AstraZeneca are expected between the end of August and early September while 332,000 doses of Pfizer will arrive between now and the end of September.

Mwansambo added that tracking of side effects and benefits of the newly introduced vaccines would be done through a team that has already been set up.

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“We will have a recording of every vaccine and emphasis will not just be on the side effects but also on how beneficial the vaccines are to people, even though we know that the side effects are minimal,” he said.

However, National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi President Shouts Simeza said delays in bringing the vaccines into the country had an effect on their efficacy and would likely create a scramble for the vaccines.

“The vaccines work well when they augment each other. So, if the gap is widespread, it means the connection between the first vaccine and the second one will be affected since the efficacy is challenged,” he said.

Thus far, at least 385,242 people have received the first dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the country and only 43,165 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

The country, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, needs to vaccinate 60 percent of its 18 million population.

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