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Minister Jonas Chanda has warned against unverified reports in the media on the perceived risks on AstraZeneca, the Covid-19 vaccine. Dr Chanda said the data being published in the media which is nonscientific and without critical analysis has the potential to drive further the myths about the vaccine which the ministry is working hard to dispel.

He said in a statement that the benefits of AstraZeneca outweigh any perceived risks by the public according to global health experts. “Most of the data shared online are not science-based and typically issued without critical analysis and if shared in its raw unverified form, may cause alarm and drive even further the very myths and misconceptions andconspiracy theories,” Dr. Chanda said. He has urged the media to ensure that only verified information on the vaccine is published and the ministry would always be ready for verification to give out verified information.

Dr. Chanda assured the ministry with its partners are closely following developments globally to ensure that only high-level scientific evidence is utilised for decision making. He said the country is particularly following developments in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and other neighbouring countries that have situations similar to Zambia’s context and have started rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

 Meanwhile, Dr. Chanda said the country has recorded 130 news cases out of 3, 166 tests conducted bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 88, 930. He said the country has recorded five new deaths bringing the cumulative number of Covid-19 related deaths to 1, 220.

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