...as health minister assures safe, efficacious and quality vaccines
CABINET has finally approved the COVID-19 vaccine programme for Zambia targeting the high risk persons above the age of 18.
Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda announced in Lusaka yesterday.
Dr Chanda stated that the vaccination programme with the approved vaccines will be implemented in a cautious and phased up manner.
He added that over three million people are earmarked to benefit from the vaccines acquired through the COVAX facility which is being spearheaded by the United Nations family through [the] World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and other institutions.
He explained that health workers and other frontline personnel will be among the first to benefit. Others include those involved in cross border trade.
The Minister reiterated that Cabinet guided by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu took a cautious path, making consultations and monitoring the global trends before arriving at the decision put safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines as top priority.
He further stressed that the health of Zambians has been paramount in making this landmark decision by government.
The minister was confident that the vaccination program would greatly contribute to mitigating negative health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
Dr Chanda has since assured the nation that no harm will be inflicted on any citizen, as the necessary safety measures have all been taken.
He further called upon the media, traditional leaders, the church as well as all key stakeholders to help in sensitizing the community on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He encouraged the private sector and all other partners in the health sector to actively get involvement in the provision of the COVID-19 vaccine as a way of supplementing what government was doing.
The Minister bemoaned the uncouth behaviour of some COVID-19 patients who flee health facilities whilst undergoing treatment only to come back in a critical condition, a situation he described as detrimental to health adding that the ill practice has led to loss of life thereby reversing the gains made so far.
The minister was quick to advise against such bad tendencies.
And Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama says his office is in consultation with the United Nations (UN) family and other stakeholders on the procurement process and other technicalities involved.
Dr Malama said the nation will be kept informed on the progress in due course.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga has called on the media to familiarize themselves with the vaccine and to assist in demystifying the myths surrounding it.