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58% gets Covid-19 jabs-UNC Project

Jumbe: explaining to journalists about Covid-19 research projects

By Lovemore Khomo

Covid-19 continues to pose a threat to the global community though many countries and organisations including World Health Organisation-WHO declared that it’s no longer a global and public health emergency.

According to World Health Organisation-WHO as of 30 August 2023, there have been 770,085,713 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 6,956,173 deaths globally since 2019.

In Malawi, epidemiology report indicates that 88, 825 covid-19 cases were registered, while 2,686 deaths registered and 85, 812 recovered. As of July 2023, there were 21 active cases.

Allan Jumbe Coordinator for CoVPN 3008 Ubuntu study which aims to evaluate ModernaTX vaccine of Covid-19 at UNC project, George Joaki Center, Lilongwe said their research indicates that 58 out of 70 percent of targeted people have now been vaccinated.

Dr. Jumbe made this presentation during a recent and 7th Science Media Cafe organised by Journalists Association against AIDS in Malawi-JournAids, at George Joaki Center for scribes to appreciate work being at the facility.

Malawi targeted to vaccinate 8,320, 000, but currently total vaccinated is 4,837, 842. Uptake on Johnson & Johnson is 2,117, 237,  AstraZeneca got 2,019, 251 and Pfizer was at 701 354.

This development comes as UNC project is carrying out a research on efficacy of Moderna TX vaccine not only in a Malawi but for the whole of Sub-Saharan region.

Jumbe outlines the importance of the research that Malawi and other countries will benefit through scientific findings and impart knowledge that shall impact all in a society.

“Covid 19 is quiet new disease which prompted different institutions to cling on finding ways to deal with it. We’re happy as Malawians to take part on this study to partake knowledge on discovering how efficient is ModernaTX vaccine towards combating Covid 19 in this region.” explained Jumbe.

He further raised an alarm that delays in COVID-19 vaccination among Health Care Workers and the general population further prevent herd immunity and will result in increased COVID-19-related illness and deaths, creating a surge in the utilization of already strained health care resources in the country.

“Broad uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine will be essential to reducing COVID-19 infections and deaths. Targeted messaging to Health Care Workers, and using accurate messages delivered by trusted individuals, can increase uptake.” recommended Jumbe.

UNC project Covid-19 research coordinator also advised that stakeholders should explore and employ Innovative ways to communicate information in order to increase understanding of the public health officials’ endorsement of widespread COVID-19 vaccination.

By the end of the research Malawi will be on the list of participating countries which have found out the efficacy of ModernaTX covid-19 vaccine in Sub-Saharan region.

However, the scientist was not optimistic on exact dates and year shall the research results be ready for the public to understand the situation. He said usually researches take a long time to complete, since Covid-19 is new they might fast track within 3 to 4 years in order to publish th results.

Mithi: Let us do more awareness campaigns on Covid-19

Meanwhile, Science Media Cafe convener and JournAids Programs Manager Dingaan Mithi expressed unsatisfactory over 58 percent Covid-19 vaccine uptake, saying the country could have done better than this.

Mithi said Malawi trails behind as government had set a deadline of June 2023 to have 70 percent of the population being vaccinated but it’s not the case.

He however appreciated the slight improvement in the vaccine uptake though too low to match up with much needed target of 70 percent.

Mithi therefore said, “We need more awareness campaigns so that large numbers of people get vaccinated in preparedness of new variants, only if they hit us.”

This has been the journalists visit to UNC project research center since it’s establishment in 2006, so that they understand technical aspects of Health researches in the country.

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