HEALTH Minister Dr Jonas Chanda has assured the nation that the COVID-19 vaccine currently being rolled out in the community has no negative impact on those with underlying medical conditions.

And Dr Chanda says 81,459 people have been vaccinated in the country since the COVID-19 vaccination programme was launched.

In a statement, Monday, Dr Chanda noted the concerns by people in communities over the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine among persons with underlying medical conditions.

He however, assured the public that observances made globally indicate that the vaccine would not impact negatively among those with chronic illnesses.

“Today (Monday) marks day 26 since the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign launch. Up-to 81,459 persons have been vaccinated against COVID-19 nationally to date, of which 1,539 were vaccinated within the last 24 hours. Of the total vaccinated, 24 percent represents healthcare workers. We still urge Zambians in the priority populations as approved by Cabinet to take advantage of the easy access of vaccines in community and health facility vaccination sites in all Districts. Health workers are hereby directed to provide this very important service to members of the public, even over weekends [and] public holidays,’’ Dr Chanda said.

“Our engagement with the community reveals concerns over the safety of the vaccines among persons with underlying medical conditions such as Hypertension (BP), Diabetes, Asthma among others. We wish to assure you that the observances made globally through surveys and Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) surveillance indicate that the vaccine will not impact negatively among those with chronic illnesses including Diabetes, hypertension Chronic Lung Disease, Cancers, HIV and any other. We encourage you all to get vaccinated as it has been noted that COVID-19 disease outcomes in people with underlying medical conditions are poor especially if they are not compliant in taking their routine medicines. This is the reason Cabinet prioritized people with underlying medical conditions as a priority group to get vaccinated. We wish to emphasize the importance of adhering to all therapies prescribed by your healthcare practitioners. For all underlying medical conditions as they are in no way contradicted when one gets COVID-19 vaccine.”

And Dr Chanda announced that the country recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

“We report in the last 24 hours 20 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 3,164 tests conducted representing 0.6 percent positivity. The cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date is 92,112. We have 42 patients admitted to our isolation facilities countrywide following five new admissions in the last 24 hours, of these 20 are admitted to the Levy Mwanawasa Isolation Center. While we note a generalised reduced number of persons, requiring hospital management in the country the number of COVID-19 cases in Lusaka is gradually increasing and we urge all to be adherent to COVID-19 prevention measures and be vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. All except one patient, in the levy Mwanawasa Covid centre are on oxygen therapy indicating severe disease. Among the total patients in isolation centres across the country 34 are on Oxygen therapy of whom four are in critical condition. All patients in isolation have no history of COVID-19 vaccination,” he said.

Dr Chanda said no COVID-19 related death was recorded in the last 24 hours with the cumulative number remaining at 1,257.

He called on the general public to continue adhering to the five golden rules if the country was to emerge victorious against the virus.