Malawi Launches New COVID-19 Vaccination

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The Malawi Government, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), has initiated a fresh vaccination campaign. The campaign kicked off on Monday, targeting ten districts out of Malawi’s 29, as the country witnesses a steady rise in cases over the past three weeks.

Nsanje, a district in the southern region, has emerged as a focal point for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Malawi. According to George Mbotwa, a spokesperson for the local health office, Nsanje recorded 17 new cases in the last three weeks, with some involving healthcare personnel.

“Initially there were two, but we had up to eight cases that were health workers,” stated Mbotwa. “Some of them have now been confirmed as negative, and others are being followed up to ensure that they are fully recovered before they can resume work.”

As of Monday, Malawi has reported a total of 89,202 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 2,686 deaths, since the first cases were confirmed in April 2020.

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To address the escalating situation, Malawi’s Ministry of Health aims to increase COVID-19 vaccine coverage through the ongoing immunization campaign. In some areas of the country, vaccination rates are as low as 40%.

This vaccination program, supported by the WHO, also aims to mitigate vaccine wastage, a concern stemming from the disposal of approximately 20,000 expired AstraZeneca doses in 2020. The expiration of these vaccines was attributed to public hesitancy over safety and efficacy, concerns that recent government-led public health campaigns on COVID-19 vaccines have sought to dispel.

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