By Solister Mogha
Zomba, March 11, Mana: President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera Thursday launched the Covid-19 vaccine in Zomba with a call for Malawians to quickly get immunized.
Malawi received its first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine last week and about 1.4 million Malawians are expected to be vaccinated.
Dr Chakwera said the presence of the vaccine in the country was a milestone in the fight against the pandemic which has killed over 1, 077 people, 82 percent of whom in the second wave.
The president expressed optimism that with the vaccine, the country would see change in number of new infections.
“Covid-19 has robbed us of our freedom, destroyed business and jobs, restricted our travels and disturbed our communal life. Painfully, the pandemic has infected 32, 000 Malawians and killed many of our beloved ones.
“However the change has come, we expect to see reduced cases of new infection. The vaccine has come at the nick of time to give us the second wind in our quest to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
The President has since asked Malawians not to be scared or absorb the false information in regards to the vaccine but rather join in the fight by getting vaccinated.
“There is no question that this vaccination programme is a must have. The damage that Covid-19 has caused to our society is plain for all to see. For this reason, we must have the vaccine to protect ourselves from catching the virus.
“Noone should fool or scare Malawians with lies about the vaccine. As far as the vaccines are concerned, AstraZeneca has been found by our scientists to be safe, effective and suitable,” Chakwera said, referring to his acceptance to be the first one to be vaccinated as a sign of the safety of the vaccines.
Dr Chakwera hailed health workers for their dedication to work and development partners especially World Health Organisation (WHO) and Global Alliance on Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) for the technical and financial support.
Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, warned health workers not to sale the vaccines and also not to be biased in the admission of the same.
Kandodo said the vaccine is for every Malawian and as such, everyone must be vaccinated.
The minister called on Malawians to exercise patience in case some do not get the vaccine, saying government will continue to buy the vaccines.
It is expected that health workers, teachers, the army, the police and the media would be the first to get vaccinated.
Over 861 centers across the country will provide the vaccination.