By Tione Andsen – Mana.
Civil Servants have been warned not to relax in observing Covid-19 prevention and control measures because they have received second dose of the vaccine. Deputy Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Janet Banda gave the advice on Monday during the start of the administration of second dose of Covid-19 vaccinations for Civil servants at Capital Hill in Lilongwe. She said these vaccines are an additional tool in the prevention and control of Covid-19 and are not meant to replace the other control measures of the pandemic. Banda said the second dose should encourage Civil servants to intensify their quest to reduce the further spread of the diseases. The Deputy Secretary added that government continues to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) in monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic at national and global levels. “Reports, we are getting from the WHO are that some of our neighbouring countries are now reporting increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases to the levels that they are talking about a possible third wave. So, let us continue working hard and we should not relax,” she said. Banda stated that government with support from our development partners continues to step up efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.She noted that the good news was that the daily reported figures for Covid-19 cases in the country have markedly gone down. “In the past few days, the country has been reporting less than 20 cases per day. This does not mean that we should relax in implementing prevention and control measures. We need to intensify our activities.” Deputy Secretary remarked. She explained that the use Covid-19 vaccines was one of the strategies the country was using to control the pandemic and using vaccines which were approved by WHO and Malawi Immunization Technical Advisory Group (MAITAG). “Our vaccine of choice is the AstraZeneca vaccine and a person requires two doses given at least 12 weeks apart. The two doses are being given concurrently in designated places or health facilities in the country. The vaccinations are voluntary and are being done in phases,” Banda explained. She said the initial vaccination phase was targeting 20 percent of the population which include the frontline health workers and all other civil servants and public servants whose work involves getting exposed to Covid-19 high risk groups. “We are targeting the elderly and those with underlying health conditions and later they will be given to all those above 18 years,” Banda added, citing that the COVAX facility would assist our country with 20 percent of vaccines needed to vaccinate over 3.8 million people. She narrated, “We have received 360,000 doses from the COVAX facility, 102,000 doses from African Union (AU) and 50,000 doses from government of India. The AU has recommended that African countries should aim for vaccination coverage of above 60 percent,” Banda said government was aware that the next consignment of 900,000 doses from the COVAX facility has been delayed because of the pandemic especially in India where our vaccines are manufactured. She asked the members of the press and all media house to continue working with government in sending Covid-19 control and prevention messages to our communities. Secretary for Health, Dr Charles Mwansambo said Civil servants should make use of the second round of Covid-19 vaccination to be vaccinated. He added that by vaccinating themselves, they are contributing to the fight against the pandemic and there was need to take all two doses of the vaccine. Mana/tha