Malawi has started administering Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid vaccine for the first time since it was added to the list of vaccines to be used in the country.
Some centres in Lilongwe, including Bwaila Hospital, and Mzuzu City started administering J&J jabs Monday.
At least 302,400 doses of J&J arrived on Saturday through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
The Ministry of Health stressed that only those that have never received any Covid vaccine should get the J&J jab, which is given in one shot.
People interviewed randomly said they decided to go for vaccination after noting the importance of the same.
“I have to protect my life. I have taken the jab and there is no problem I have encountered so far,” said Shuppie Kalodzera, who took her jab at Bwaila District Hospital.
Mateyu Wailisi, who got inoculated at the same hospital, said he did not want to take chances.
“Prevention is better than cure. If I follow medical experts’ advice, I am sure that I will stay protected from coronavirus,” he said.
In the Northern Region, the vaccination exercise resumed at some centres in Mzimba North while, in other centres, J&J dose administration is expected to start today after the vaccine arrived late.
By 11 o’clock in the morning, over 30 people had already been vaccinated at Mzuzu Central Hospital while a good number of people were waiting for their turn.
Mwachumu Chipala, a Mzuzu resident, said he opted for Johnson & Johnson vaccine after observing that he only required a single shot.
“This is the right time for me to get vaccinated,” he said.
Sixty-seven-year-old Redson Honde said he was convinced that, contrary to speculation, the vaccine was safe.
“People have been speculating a lot in relation to the vaccine but I have been proven wrong. I am urging others to come and get vaccinated,” he said.
Mzimba North Health Promotions Officer Lovemore Kawaye said they were making sure that all centres start the vaccination exercise by today.
J&J is a single-dose vaccine with an efficacy rate of around 80 percent.
Mzimba North has received 8,500 doses of J&J vaccine.
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.