HEALTH Minister Dr Jonas Chanda says the COVID-19 vaccine programme will be done cautiously on a voluntary basis and in a phased manner, adding that there will be no mandatory vaccination.
And Dr Chanda says Zambia has recorded 265 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths.
In a statement, Friday, Dr Chanda stated that the first pillar of initial vaccines to be rolled out under the COVAX mechanism would be AstraZeneca and subsequently the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which would be free.
He stated that COVAX would cover 20 per cent of the eligible adult population over the age of 18 years, while the remaining 26 per cent of the eligible population would be covered through the second and third pillar.
“Yesterday (Thursday), we announced that Cabinet has unanimously approved and adopted the Health, Acquisition, Deployment and Financing of COVID-19 vaccines in Zambia as an additional pillar of our COVID-19 Response Strategy. The Vaccine Programme will be done cautiously on a voluntary basis and in a phased manner and on a pilot basis. There will be no mandatory vaccination. The available scientific evidence shows overwhelmingly that vaccine deployment is key in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Countries that have made progress in their vaccine roll-out have already shown significant reduction in transmission, severe illness and deaths reported. The First Pillar of initial vaccines to be rolled out under the COVAX mechanism will be AstraZeneca and subsequently the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which will be free. COVAX will cover 20 per cent of eligible adults over the age of 18 years. The remaining 26 per cent of the eligible population will be covered through Pillar two and three,” Dr Chanda explained.
He added that the Second Pillar were vaccines that may be donated to the country by other governments and cooperating partners subject to approval of the Ministry of Health through ZAMRA.
He said that the Third Pillar would cover the rest of the eligible adult population who may not be covered under Pillar one and two through government making available funds for vaccines, and also the participation of the private sector, with the approval of the Ministry of Health and ZAMRA.
“The Second Pillar are vaccines that may be donated to the country by other governments and cooperating partners subject to approval of the Ministry of Health through ZAMRA, as long as they meet the criteria for efficacy and safety based on proven clinical trial, sustainability, source of manufacture and have been monitored to have been used safely in many countries. The Ministry of Health, through Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), will check efficacy and safety for all vaccines. The Third Pillar will cover the rest of the eligible adult population, who may not be covered under Pillar One and two through government making available funds for vaccines, and also the participation of the private sector, with the approval of the Ministry of Health and ZAMRA,” narrated Dr Chanda.
“The Ministry of Health will be providing key insights on the COVID-19 vaccine deployment during the daily briefings as we roll-out the programme. It is our hope that with the vaccine deployment we can attain ‘herd immunity’ and thus control the COVID-19 pandemic. People should also not be swayed by myths, conspiracy theories and propaganda.”
Meanwhile, Dr Chanda stated that Zambia had recorded 265 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths as at Friday, March 26.
“We recorded 265 new cases out of 5,876 tests conducted (4.5 per cent positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 87,583. The new cases broken down by province are as follows: 98, Lusaka; 64, Eastern; 45, Northern; 24, North-Western; 10, Western; eight, Copperbelt; eight, Luapula; four, Southern; three, Muchinga, and one, Central. Three new deaths were recorded from Copperbelt, Eastern and Muchinga provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19-related deaths recorded now stands at 1,194, classified as 662 COVID deaths and 532 COVID-19 associated deaths. A combined 123 discharges were recorded from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 84,018. We currently have 2,371 active cases of whom 2,260 are under community management and 111 are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 87 are on oxygen therapy and 19 are in critical condition,” stated Dr Chanda.