Experts confront Covid-19 vaccine fears

Amid the spread of misinformation on Covid-19, medical experts have allayed widespread public fears surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine as Malawi expects to use the UK developed jab in its battle against the novel global pandemic.

Scientists based in the country stress that two jabs of the vaccine are enough to protect a person against the deadly virus. They made the emphasis during a media engagement organised by the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust(MLWT).

A senior official at MLWT, Dr Ben Morton said once people have taken the first jab it doesn’t mean they are protected right away.

He spoke against complacency, warning: “One still needs to be cautious after getting the first jab because your immune system needs to take time to recognise the vaccine and build off its memory for that infection.”

Dr Morton added that people still need to follow all Covid-19 precautionary measures for at least three weeks before one considers reverting to normal life.

His colleague,  Dr Kondwani Jambo said people that have had Covid-19 before are eligible for the vaccine and have an advantage because the first dosage of the vaccine induces a good immune response it acts as a booster vaccine.

Asked whether one can still transmit the virus after vaccination, the immunologist  responded by saying there is still ongoing scientific research to establish if people that have been vaccinated will  reduce the probability  to transmit Covid-19, if they are carrying the virus.

Malawi’s health workers and front-line staff, people with underlining health condition and the elderly will be prioritized when the vaccine rolls out this March, President Chakwera announced in televised national address earlier in the year.

As at present, health authorities are developing key messages on why the country has opted for the Oxford University formulated jab. This is an attempt by the government to enlighten Malawians amid the lack of information and misinformation on social media, religious circles and in rural areas.

As of Sunday, official statistics indicated that 856 people died of Covid-19 in Malawi.

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