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Government contemplates buying Covid vaccines

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The scarcity of Oxford- AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in the country has pushed the government to consider purchasing another vaccine brand to meet growing demand.

Covid vaccine brands include Moderna RNA, Pfizer, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson.

Figures indicate that only 0.23 percent of the targeted 60 percent population has been fully vaccinated— that is, getting two doses of Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine.

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This translates to 428,407 people out of the 11 million targeted for the exercise.

The country is expecting 192,000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca on July 15 2021 which, according to Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, the government has mobilised through development partners.

However, this will not be enough to cover all those in need of the second dose of the vaccine.

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Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe told The Daily Times that discussions were underway with health experts to weigh the feasibility of the option.

“Considering the situation we are in, which we did not expect earlier, experts are looking at other options; [that is to say] if we can switch to another brand of the vaccine because this one was largely being produced in India, where they have had their issues. They had to satisfy the demand in their population first before they could supply to other countries.

“So, yes, we are looking at options like shifting to another brand because we know it could be manufactured in different countries. So, maybe supplies could not be difficult,” he said.

National Immunisation Advisory Committee Chairperson Professor Macpherson Mallewa from the College of Medicine confirmed that the Ministry of Health engaged them to provide recommendations on whether bringing in a new brand of Covid vaccine would be ideal.

“We have drafted the recommendations and we will be delivering them to the ministry soon but it is too early to disclose the recommendations,” he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Chitimbe and Mallewa have urged Malawians to continue following Covid preventative measures.

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