MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama says Luapula Province is currently beating Lusaka Province in terms of the vaccine uptake.

And Dr Malama says the country has recorded an overall COVID-19 test positivity drop from 10 percent the previous week to 8 percent this week.

Giving the daily COVID-19 update, Dr Malama said provinces which were moving faster would get more vaccines as government ramps up the vaccination process.

“As we have updated the nation, we continue expanding our vaccination programme in line with what was approved by cabinet. So indeed Sinopharm 100,000 doses received, each bottle, enables us to reach out to two people. So what it means that all of it is quarantined in one place and we have not started distributing. The other good news is that this vaccine expires in 2023 so we will ensure that we use it timely and once we roll out the distribution list, we will let you know,” Dr Malama said.

“What you need to remember is at the moment we still have Astrazeneca and Johnson and Johnson in the provinces. It is also clear that in the coming week, the Sinopharm will start being administered. We are very particular in that provinces which are very slow we are encouraging them to move faster. Muchinga is one of the provinces which is on the slower side and we have continued engaging so that they can create demand and utilize vaccines. If you compare Luapula, it is even beating Lusaka Province in terms of uptake and that is what we want to see. So provinces which are moving faster, will definitely get more vaccines as we ramp up the vaccinations.”

Dr Malama revealed that Zambia was expecting 119,200 doses of the AstraZeneca in the coming days as part of the dose sharing from the UK Government.

“Yesterday, we administered 974 Dose 1 and 287 Dose 2 AstraZeneca vaccinations as well as 5,851 doses of Johnson and Johnson. Of the 872,000 total doses we have received as the country, to date we have administered a cumulative 503,707 doses (58%) (wastage rate notwithstanding). The breakdown of the cumulative vaccinations is as follows: 303,966 Dose one vaccinations (297,067 AstraZeneca and 6,899 Sinopharm) and 199,741 fully vaccinated [i.e.104,021 Dose two AstraZeneca (35% of those that received dose one); 89,384 Johnson and Johnson and 6,336 Dose 2 Sinopharm (92% of those that received dose one)]. We are further expecting 119,200 doses of AstraZeneca in coming days as part of the dose sharing from the UK Government through the COVAX Facility and we will keep the nation updated,” he said.

Dr Malama said 629 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

“Today, we report 629 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 7,803 tests giving 8% positivity. The cumulative number of COVID-19 confirmed cases now stands at 200,830. The distribution of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central 34 (6%), Copperbelt 116 (7%), Eastern 64 (9%), Luapula 40 (10%), Lusaka 29 (2%), Muchinga 54 (15%), Northern 50 (11%), North-western 150 (29%), Southern 51 (5%), and Western 41 (7%). In the last 24 hours, we recorded eight new COVID-19 related deaths. The breakdown of the new deaths by Province is as follows: Eastern three, Copperbelt two, Lusaka two, and Luapula one. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 3,499 (classified as 2,629 COVID-19 deaths and 870 COVID-19 associated deaths),” he said.

Dr Malama added that the country had recorded an overall COVID-19 test positivity drop from 10 percent the previous week to 8 percent this week.