Rollout Of Covid-19 Vaccine In Malawi
17th May 2021
Dr. Kondwani Zgambo the Medical Director at Embangweni Mission Hospital and thousands of other health workers working in CHAM facilities have been risking their lives to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. They have worked long and distressing hours as hospital admissions increased. Now there is hope, that there could be an end to the pandemic.
“It hurts to see people die after doing everything you could to save them. It hurts to also know that the power to save them is not in your hands. I think this vaccine is that power which will help us save lives. I am not only relieved but empowered to do more,” said Medical Doctor Zgambo after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
As the COVID-19 pandemic reached over 197,924 cases and exceeded 1,044 deaths in Malawi just in 1 year after its emergence, the Government of Malawi decided to roll out COVID-19 vaccination program to curb the pandemic. On March 18, 2021, The State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera led the nation in the roll out of AstraZeneca vaccination program.
After months of planning, waiting, public speculation and even some misinformation, the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out in Malawi, begun with the vaccination of the President himself.
His Excellency President Lazarus Chakwera said, “We must take this vaccine to ensure that everyone is protected from COVID-19. We must take this vaccine to protect health workers who risk their lives to care for COVID-19 patients. We must take this vaccine to protect teachers from infection so that they can continue the work of educating tomorrow’s leaders.”
During the vaccination programme, about 60, 000 of health workers in Malawi were among the first group who received the jab. Health practitioners in CHAM facilities were not exempted from receiving the vaccine. CHAM as a major partner of government ensured that all its employees received the jab.
According to the Director of Health Programmes for CHAM, Elled Mwenyekonde, “Vaccine is important for health care workers as it will boost their immunity in getting COVID-19. It does not offer full immunity but significant immunity to reduce severe forms of COVID-19 illness”.
CHAM facilities will continue to play a role in making sure that they are in involved in sensitizing and creating demand for communities to receive COVID-19 vaccine since this has been the major challenge in accessing COVID-19 vaccine by the communities.