PHARMACIST Jerome Kanyika says the Ministry of Health must intensify the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in order to prevent having more doses expiring.

Recently, the Ministry of Health revealed that 98,454 doses of Covid-19 vaccines had expired, translating into a wastage of 0.01%.

Commenting on this in an interview, Kanyika urged the ministry to only acquire less doses at any given time.

“First to start with, we have been informed that 93,000 Covid vaccinations have expired, this is due to the fact that there are less people who are taking the vaccines compared to the number of people who we are anticipating getting the vaccines. So this now calls for the Ministry of Health to improve in terms of communicating and disseminating information to the members of the public, so that people can up-take the vaccines as the ministry has a target of reaching 70% of the herd immunity by June and this is April now,” he said.

“If we are having vaccines in huge doses like 93,000 getting expired, meaning that we will not be able to have the herd immunity of 70% and moreover, we need to make sure that when ordering those vaccines, we shouldn’t be in a hurry, but we wait to quantify and also focus about the numbers that we may need for the vaccines and not getting everything which will end up expiring on us, as you know very well when something expires, it doesn’t just end there, you need to dispose off, which will require lot of resources from the government to dispose off those vaccines, these resources would have been used for other important activities in the Ministry of Health”.

He insisted that intensifying the vaccination campaign was the way to go.

“So before ordering those, let’s make sure that we quantify exact number so that we may reduce the wastage. 93,000 wastage of the vaccines as we have seen is a huge amount of number and it will affect and it is going to affect us, failing to have the herd immunity of 70% people being vaccinated by June 2022,” Kanyika said

“Like I mentioned, we need to improve in terms of information dissemination. As you know very well, yes, on the other hand the ministry has done a good thing of lifting all the Covid-19 restrictions but on the other hand, we should know very well that we still have Covid in Zambia and in the world, when you check the numbers that are coming out from China, and when you also check the numbers that are coming out from the UK, you will discover that the numbers are too high.”

He said Covid-19 had not ended and there was need to continue sensitising the public.

“And other countries have also approved the fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccines because of the numbers which are going up so we need to know that we still have Covid and we need to continuously communicate to the people, we need to use the media and take advantage of all the media we have in this country to disseminate more information concerning the vaccines and how good the vaccines are and how they are there to promote and improve the health of the people,” said Kanyika.