The Ministry of Health says it will first roll out the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as the first pillar of the Covid- 19 Response strategy following Cabinet’s approval.
Minister of Health, Jonas Chanda in a statement released yesterday said there is overwhelming evidence that the vaccine deployment is key in bringing the pandemic under control and countries already deploying the vaccines have shown significant reduction in transmission.
The Minister added that the Vaccine Programme will be done cautiously on a voluntary basis and in a phased manner on a pilot basis.
“There will be no mandatory vaccination. The available scientific evidence shows overwhelmingly that vaccine deployment is key in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Countries that have made progress in their vaccine roll-out have already shown significant reduction in transmission, severe illness and deaths reported,” he said.
Dr Chanda stated that under the Covid-19 mechanism, AstraZeneca and subsequently the Johnson & Johnson will initially be rolled under the first pillar to be followed by other vaccines.
“The First Pillar of initial vaccines to be rolled out under the Covid-19 Vaccine (COVAX) mechanism will be AstraZeneca and subsequently the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” he indicated.
Mr. Chanda explained that the COVAX will cover 20% (3,676,791) of the eligible adult over the age of 18 years (18,383,955) population. The remaining 26% (4,761,327) of the eligible population will be covered through Pillar 2 and 3 below.
“The Second Pillar are vaccines that may be donated to the Country by other Governments and Cooperating Partners subject to approval of the Ministry of Health through ZAMRA, as long as they meet the criteria for efficacy and safety based on proven clinical trial, sustainability, source of manufacture and have been monitored to have been used safely in many countries. The Ministry of Health through Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) will check efficacy and safety for all vaccines,” he said.
The Minister discouraged People from being swayed by myths, conspiracy theories of propaganda as the country fights the pandemic.
“We do, however, stress the importance of maintaining our adherence to all the other facets of public health guidance including mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing”, added Mr. Chanda.