Government through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health says learners in primary and secondary schools across the country that are under the age of 18 years, will not receive the Covid-19 Astra Zeneca vaccine.
Government adds schools will not be used as sites for Covid-19 vaccinations, no school will be a vaccination centre, saying only health facilities which belong to Ministry of Health and Christian Hospitals Association of Malawi [CHAM] will host vaccination activities.
In a statement jointly signed by Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo and Raphael Agabu, for the Secretary for Education dated 12th March 2021, Government is advising the general public that taking the vaccine is free and by choice, saying people will be given all the necessary information on the vaccine for them to make informed choices.
Government says Astra Zeneca vaccine is safe and is promoted across the world saying government has properly planned schedule for rolling out the vaccination programme.
It says the first group to be vaccinated, are the health workers, saying the health facilities will announce vaccination days for groups from other professions who may want and are eligible for vaccination.
…”Priority will be given to members of the police service, Immigration, teachers, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses like diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and heart diseases…,’’reads part of the joint statement.
Government is emphasizing to all community leaders and school managers that no child or pupil under 18 years will be vaccinated and no child will be at a vaccination centre, and no one will be forced or tricked to take the vaccine.
The statement says all concerned communities will be informed properly when their turn for vaccination come, advising citizens to please remember that Covid-19 vaccine is voluntary.
Meanwhile, Vice President of Malawi, Right Hon. Dr. Saulosi Klaus Chilima, is encouraging Malawians to go and receive the Covid-19 vaccines for their bodies to be immune so that they can fight against the virus, expressing hope that if many Malawians are vaccinated, for sure Covid-19 will be defeated.
Dr. Chilima says washing hands regularly with soap, wearing masks and social distancing are the not the only measures for containing the further spread of Covid-19 saying vaccine will help the body to develop immunity to fight against the Covid-19.
Malawi rolled out Covid-19 vaccine program attended by President Dr. Chakwera in Zomba and the Vice President, Dr. Chilima in Mzuzu where the two received Astra Zeneca jabs proving to the entire Malawi population that Astra Zeneca vaccine is safe, effective and suitable for Malawi.
By Vincent Gunde