Malawi has received the first consignment of 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility and the vaccination campaign is expected to start in the second week of March.
The consignment arrived on Friday through the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) and it was welcomed by the minister of health and population, Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, among others.
Minister of information, who is also the government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako, said the distribution of the vaccine across the country will take five days.
He said President Lazarus Chakwera and his wife, Monica Chakwera, will receive the vaccine to mark the launch of the campaign.
President Chakwera announced on Jan. 31 that Malawi had settled for the AstraZeneca vaccine and that the campaign would start with 20 percent of the country’s population, prioritizing frontline workers, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions.
The Malawi government intends to reach out to at least 3.8 million people with vaccines first. According to the ministry of health, a total of 7.8 million people will have been reached with vaccination in two years.
In February, the country received 360,000 syringes and 3,625 safety boxes under the COVAX Facility in readiness for the vaccination campaign.
New confirmed COVID-19 cases continued to decrease in the country, with 74 cases recorded Friday out of 865 tests conducted on the day.
The country has lost 1,063 lives to COVID-19 out of 32,357 confirmed positive cases, and 9,539 cases are still active.