Kennedy Malama, Permanent Secretary for Technical Services at the Ministry of Health, has underlined the government’s commitment to continue procuring further consignments of vaccinations in accordance with the authorised vaccine basket.
According to Dr. Malama, the government has completed the legal formalities for acquiring the Johnson & Johnson vaccination and will now proceed with paying the necessary payments.
Dr. Malama stated yesterday at the daily COVID-19 report in Lusaka that the legal processes also established the platform for private and non-state players who desire to purchase vaccines, since they may utilise the same platform.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the government has completed all administrative processes and paid the necessary payment for shipment of the 100,000 Sinopharm dosages, which are scheduled to arrive in the nation early next week or the week after 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 also stated that the government has received documentation for the 108,000 AstraZeneca dosages and has completed the importation permission through the Zambia Medicines and Regulatory Authority, adding that the country would be kept updated on the estimated date of delivery.
“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.
According to Dr. Malama, the rush to get the vaccination early simply puts one at a disadvantage.
He added that there is unambiguous scientific proof that if a person takes the two doses less than six weeks apart, the efficacy is only approximately 54%, compared to 82 percent if the gap is 12 weeks or greater.