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GOVERNMENT should continue assuring the citizenry on the safety of the Covid-19 to dispel rumours that the vaccines are dangerous, Bishop Council of Zambia (BCZ) general secretary Bishop Abel Kaela has said.

He said there is need for serious education of the public on the vaccines before it’s rolled out as it’s the only sure way to the successful implementation of the programme. Bishop Kaela said the church should be involved in encouraging members to take part in the vaccination meant to insulate them from Covid-19. The bishop was speaking following government revelation that the first batch of the vaccine – 228, 000 doses – was expected to arrive in the country tomorrow.

Zambia is one of the countries in the SADC region that will receive Covid-19 vaccines under the free COVAX facility. Meanwhile, Zambians are ready for the vaccine although some remain apprehensive about its safety following reports that some vaccines present with severe side effects such as clotting. Many people spoken to said they were looking forward to be vaccinated so that they could get back to normal life. Traders from Lusaka’s city centre were however only willing to take the vaccine if they see leaders vaccinated.

 Mr Christopher Chanda, a bus driver, said he was ready to be vaccinated because he is daily exposed to many people and wanted to protect himself and others. And at Soweto market, some traders refused even to consider taking the vaccine, saying they will brave things as they are. Meanwhile, the country has in the last 24 hours recorded 135 new cases out of 7, 275 tests conducted countrywide. Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda said at a press briefing in Lusaka that the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to are 89, 918.

Dr Chanda said the country has continued to see some variation in the positivity recorded across the provinces. He however said that no death has been recorded and that the cumulative number of Covid-19 related deaths still stands at 1, 225, classified as 684 Covid-19 deaths and 541 Covid-19 associated deaths. Meanwhile, Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has announced that government has received the draft guidelines from the private sector and non-state actors who expressed interest in contributing to the COVID-19 vaccine acquisition.

Dr. Chanda disclosed that this follows discussions that were concluded with the private sector and non-state actors who are interested in contributing to the COVID-19 vaccine acquisition for the country’s vaccine basket. Dr. Chanda, in a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka, disclosed that as soon as the draft guidelines are reviewed and approved, his Ministry will begin to implement the acquisition of additional vaccines.

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