The much anticipated COVID-19 “AstraZeneca “ vaccinehas been launched on the Copperbelt with Minister of Health Jonas Chanda advising residents in the region to voluntarily take the jab for their own safety.
And Senior Chief Chiwala has urged his fellow traditional leaders on the Copperbelt Province to encourage their subjects to take the COVID-19 vaccine to protect their lives.
ZANIS reports that speaking at the launch in Ndola, Dr. Chanda, said it is unfortunate that myths surrounding the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are still doing rounds in various social circles.
“ It is unfortunate that there are increasing myths surrounding the vaccine warning that the general public are advised to receive the jab as the third wave of COVID-19 could be more lethal if the general public becomes careless, “ he said.
Dr. Chanda however re-emphasised that taking the vaccine is voluntary as people have a choice either to get vaccinated or not.
The minister of Health, officially launched the COVID-19 vaccination on 14 April 2021 at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka.
The country received the first consignment of 228,000 doses of the vaccine from the COVAX facility, a global Initiative representing a partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) working on the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The voluntary COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the country is targeting a total of 8.4 million people above the age of 18 years.
Priority has been given to frontline health workers who are essential in sustaining the COVID-19 response, who includes teachers, immigration, police, journalists , religious and traditional leaders), who are people at greatest risk of severe COVID-19 disease .
And Dr. Chanda has noted the overwhelming response from members of the general public trekking various health institutions for the jabs.
“The country is slowly moving from COVID-19 denial to now going by the increased demand for the vaccine especially in Lusaka where the vaccine was launched,” Dr. Chanda said.
38,200 vaccines have been given to the Copperbelt , he said , adding that the vaccines will not only be given to public frontline workers but those from private institutions as well.
The vaccines have been certified by certified health bodies and that people should take comfort as the vaccine is efficacious.
Dr. Chanda said the vaccination programme will be done in a cautious manner and phased approach, further stating that over 4 , 000 people were vaccinated by yesterday.
And Copperbelt Province Permanent Secretary, Bright Nundwe who has commended government for commencing the Provincial COVID-19 vaccination on the Copperbelt, said the general citizenry in the province is looks forward to getting vaccinated.