HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo has observed that more than 85 percent of the patients admitted for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

And Masebo says more than 1,750,959 vaccinations were administered to members of the public as of December 31, 2021.

Speaking during a media briefing, Monday, Masebo disclosed that 3,346 people died from COVID-related complications in 2021.

“During the just ended year, 2021, our country recorded a total of 236,958 COVID-19 cases. Of these cases, 51 percent were among males and 49 percent among females. In terms of age, 32,949 representing 14 percent of the total cases recorded were among those below 18 years, while 204,009 representing 86 percent were among those above 18 years old. Sadly, 3,346 people died in 2021 from COVID-related complications. This includes individuals of all age groups, races and ethnicity and status in society. Some of our leaders- civic and traditional, healthcare workers and responders have also succumbed to the disease. May the souls of these departed colleagues, friends and beloved family members rest in peace,” she said.

Masebo said over 200,000 patients recovered successfully and were discharged from COVID-19 treatment facilities.

“On an encouraging note, over 200,000 patients recovered successfully and were discharged from our COVID-19 treatment facilities across the country. This represents a recovery rate of 86 percent. The pandemic was worse in 2021 compared to the previous year, in which we recorded 20,725 cases including 388. This is mainly due to the appearance of new variants of the virus. This includes the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, of which the delta was the cause of majority of infections, severe disease and deaths during the third wave. We are currently battling with the Omicron variant, which is more contagious and spreading fast across our communities,” she said.

“In 2021, we launched our national COVID-19 vaccination programme as part of our response efforts to the pandemic. As of 31 December 2021, more than 1,750,959 vaccinations were administered to our people. Our vaccination campaign will continue until we reach the target of vaccinating over 70% of our eligible population, by June 2022. We also proudly noted the impressive contributions of scientists in Africa, particularly through the discovery of two of the variants of concern, namely the Beta variant and the Omicron variant.”

Meanwhile, Masebo said the country recorded 1,544 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours.

She disclosed that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 had been detected in an additional 88 samples, all collected from Lusaka District.

“In the last 24 hours, we detected 1,544 new confirmed COVID-19 cases from 5,754 tests conducted, representing a positivity of 27% nationally. We currently have 337 patients admitted to COVID-19 isolation centres across the country, among whom 105 patients are on oxygen. We continue to observe that more than 85% of the admitted patients are unvaccinated. I regret to also announce that we recorded 10 deaths. Through our Genomic Sequencing efforts, we have now detected the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in an additional 88 samples, all collected from Lusaka District. This brings the number of Omicron variants detected so far to 197. Our Genomic sequencing laboratories at UNZA-VET, the Zambia National Public Health Reference Laboratory, and CHAZ continue to analyse more samples; further results on variants shall be shared as they become available,” said Masebo.