The Ministry of Health is encouraging the public to get the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible and not wait for a specific brand as all currently authorized and recommended as safe and effective.
The Ministry says even though there are different types of Covid-19 vaccines, they do the same work of helping to reduce the risk of developing severe disease, hospitalization and deaths due to Covid-19 infection and in order to suppress and reduce the spread of the disease, people need combined interventions, adherence to the preventive measures and the vaccination.
The Ministry of Health is appealing to all Malawians who have received and will receive any Covid-19 vaccines to report side effects if any, to their attending health care workers at a nearby health facility.
In a statement of giving update on the Covid-19 vaccination program signed by the Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo, the Ministry of Health says the current policy is that one should get the same product for the second dose, saying if one received Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccine as the first dose, the second dose should also be Astrazeneca, if Pfizer-BioNTech then the second dose should also be Pfizer-BioNTech.
The Ministry of Health says to ensure continuous availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, other types of the vaccine have been approved for use in Malawi in addition to Astrazeneca saying these vaccines include Johnson and Johnson [Jansseen]. Pfizer/BioNTech, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Moderna.
The statement says the country will on Saturday, 7th August, 2021 receive a consignment of 302,400 doses of Johnson and Johnson from the US government through the COVAX facility saying the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is a single dose vaccine and it will be given once to an individual to ensure full protection to all eligible persons that are 18 years and above.
It says Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be given to all those that have never received any type of Covid-19 advising all those that received Astrazeneca vaccine not to receive Jand J vaccine saying those that received Astrazeneca vaccine will have to wait for the same Astrazeneca vaccine to complete their vaccine course,
“…A delay up to 26 weeks is acceptable, there is no cause for panic, the Ministry is anticipating more consignments of Astrazeneca vaccines this month of August and those that are due for the second dose of Astrazeneca vaccine will receive it at their earliest time possible…,’’ reads the statement in part.
The Ministry of Health is urging the public that apart from the vaccinations, it is important for everyone to continue adhering to the other preventive and containment measures such as wearing masks, hand washing and physical distancing saying these help reduce chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.
Meanwhile, two health experts, Dr. Victor Mithi and Professor Maureen Chirwa have encouraged people to know their Covid-19 status before getting a vaccine saying getting a vaccine while one is Covid-19 positive, is dangerous to one’s health.
By Vincent Gunde