Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Kennedy Malama has reiterated government’s assurance to continue acquiring additional consignments of vaccines in line with the approved basket of vaccines.
Dr. Malama says to date, government has have finalised the legal processes for the acquisition of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and will now be moving towards making the requisite payments.
Speaking during the daily COVID-19 update in Lusaka Saturday, Dr. Malama said the legal processes also set the platform for private and non-state actors who wish to acquire vaccines, as they can use the same platform.
The Permanent Secretary added that government has finalised all the administrative processes and the requisite payment for shipment has been made of the 100,000 Sinopharm doses which are expected to arrive in the country early next week or the week thereafter at the latest.
“With regard to the 120,000 doses of AstraZeneca, similarly all documentation has been submitted and now we await final communication from UNICEF and the COVAX facility on the shipment dates,” he indicated.
Dr. Malama added that government has also received the documentation for the 108,000 doses of AstraZeneca and has processed the importation permit through the Zambia Medicines and Regulatory Authority, and will keep the nation updated on the expected date of receipt.
“Countrymen and women, despite these assurances and the guidance provided with regard to ensuring that people only receive their second dose as and when it becomes due, that is 70 days from the date of their first dose, we are saddened to note reports of some individuals still insisting on receiving their second dose as early as 5 weeks after the first dose,” he noted.
Dr. Malama stated that this panic to receive the vaccine early unfortunately only places one at a disadvantage.
He explained that there is unequivocal scientific evidence showing that if a person receives the two doses less than six weeks apart, the efficacy is only around 54% as opposed to 82% if the interval is 12 weeks or more.