Malawi, with support from development partners, is likely going to spend over K77.6 billion ($100 million) on the 7.2 million additional doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine.
This is on top of the 3.8 million doses that Malawi will receive from the Covid Vaccine Access (Covax) Facility for use during the first phase of vaccination.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary, Dr Charles Mwansambo, said one dose of AstraZeneca costs around $7 and that each of the 7.2 million recipients of the vaccine will have to take two doses, which brings the total to $14.
“It is a huge amount of money. We are going to work hard to make sure we benefit from the money that has been pumped into the exercise. We know that prevention is better than cure; let’s get vaccinated,” Mwansambo said in Lilongwe Monday.
He said this at Capital Hill on the sidelines of the launch of the vaccination exercise for civil servants and retired civil servants, who were led by the Deputy Chief Secretary to President and Cabinet Janet Banda.
The country has, so far, received 360 000 doses from the Covax Facility, 50,000 doses from the Indian government with another 100,000 doses coming in the next few days.
Mwansambo added that an additional 1, 260, 000 doses would arrive before the month of May.
Banda urged civil servants to get the vaccine while observing preventive measures even after the vaccination.
“I want to encourage them not to listen to social media messages going around, scaring people about this jab. Everybody should have a responsibility to urge their fellow citizens to go and get a jab,” she said.
The first 360,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca arrived in the country on March 5, targeting frontline healthcare workers, social workers and people with underlying health conditions.
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.