Malawi will start administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Thursday this week.
The development follows the arrival of 360,000 doses of COVID-19 on Friday last week.
Disclosing the news in Lilongwe, co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 Khumbize Chiponda said the frontline health workers and those with underlying health conditions will be prioritised.
“The actual vaccination exercise is going to start on Thursday and we are going to do this thing in a phased approach.
The first category is our health workers, especially those working in our different isolation and treatment centers and we are also targeting those with underlying condition like hypertension and diabetes,” Chiponda said.
Chiponda has however reiterated that the vaccine will be administered on voluntary basis and not mandatory.
“The vaccine which we have gotten the AstraZeneca is very safe and we have seen how it is performing in the United Kingdom.
Here in Malawi even the President and his vice are going to get the same vaccine and it is not mandatory it remains voluntary to Malawians,” disclosed Chiponda.
According to UNICEF, in total, Malawi is expected to get 7.6 million doses of the vaccine through the COVAX Initiative to vaccinate at least 3.8 million people.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator which is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines in poor countries.