MINISTER of Health Sylvia Masebo says there is an alert that there might be a possible COVID-19 5th wave, warning that it will be worse than the 4th wave.

And United Nations resident coordinator Dr Coumba Mar Gadio says the Zambian government needs to be commended for fully vaccinating 1.6 million people so far.

Speaking when she received 907,200 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by France and Spain through the COVAX Facility, Friday, Masebo encouraged people to take the vaccine before the 5th wave started.

“We must continue singing the song of vaccines because it saves lives. Even as we resume our normal routine activities, let us remember that vaccines are available in all the 10 provinces of the country thereby leaving no one behind. On behalf of the government I wish to extend the Zambian people’s gratitude to the French and Spanish government for this substantial boost to our country’s COVID-19 vaccine basket. This donation will be put to maximum use for the benefit of our people,” she said.

“I want to once again thank you and your governments for this very timely donation. To my colleagues in the Ministry and members of the media who have done so much in the uptake, I want to say thank you for the work that you have done so far. To the Zambians out there, look at us, we are at the airport receiving almost a million consignments from your brothers and sisters in foreign countries. The vaccines we are giving you are safe. There is no way all these countries in front of all these cameras can be giving us vaccines to kill you. Please take this notion out of your mind and get yourself vaccinated as early as possible. The vaccines have helped in keeping the wheels of the economy running as evidenced by commerce and trade as well as the re-opening of schools.”

Masebo said government remained committed to the COVID-19 response with a goal of ensuring that at least 70% of eligible Zambians were fully vaccinated by June 2022.

“We have an alert that is coming through that there may be a possible 5th wave coming. This wave will be worse than the 4th Omicron variant. So take this opportunity to quickly get vaccinated so that even if we get another variant, we will be safe. For the children that have gone to school and those that are still at home, I am appealing to the parents and the guardians, please take the children for vaccination. It is not too late, any day and any time our health facilities are open and giving vaccines for free,” said Masebo.

“Thank you to our brothers and sisters from all over the world that continue to support us in the fight against the COVID-19. Government remains committed to the COVID-19 response with a goal of ensuring that at least 70% of eligible Zambians are fully vaccinated by June 2022. The public may wish to know that during the United Nations General Assembly, several countries committed to share COVID-19 vaccines with other countries as part of the global response to the fight against COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Dr Gadio noted that President Hakainde Hichilema had rejuvenated the fight against Covid-19.

“What has been achieved so far deserves applause with more than 1.6 million people now fully vaccinated in Zambia. The latest development happened with the influence of President Hichilema who has been part of this is. At the same time, we have seen important initiatives from the Ministry with the start of booster doses and vaccination for children over 12 years of age,” said Dr Gadio.

“The consistent support of the COVAX facility including US agencies to deliver vaccine doses to Zambia can achieve its goal of vaccinating all eligible persons in the country. We have seen that in countries with high levels of vaccination, the link between cases of COVID-19 and getting seriously ill gets broken. Today’s delivery of more than 900,000 of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, the largest single delivery in Zambia, represents enough vaccines to protect more than 10% of the adult population.”