THE coronavirus (COVID19) is still a threat not only to Zambia but to the global community and locally more than 1000 people have been lost to the pandemic and more than more than three million globally.
To forestall an increase in covid19 infections, various vaccines have been introduced, though in Zambia, we are only dealing with the AstraZeneca.
After more than a week since the vaccination programme was launched, slightly over 3000 people have been immunized. This is not impressive, considering that the nation has more than 228,000 vacinnes to give out.
Over the last couple of weeks, a decline of new COVID-19 cases and the beginning of mass immunization campaigns across several countries fueled the world with optimism about a durable solution for the pandemic.
However, a third wave of new COVID-19 cases is emerging globally, tempering the more optimistic views about a quick recovery from the pandemic.
Importantly, as the third wave of new COVID-19 cases accelerates, several countries are moving again towards more aggressive mitigation strategies. The objective is to lengthen the time through which the virus spreads and to flatten the curve of infections before hospitals get overloaded by a bigger surge of severe cases.
We commend the Zambian government for having embarked on the COVID-19 vaccination with the sole purpose of saving lives, increase recovery rates and avoid unintended consequences associated with strained healthcare systems.
Like most vaccines, there are apprehensions from some sections of society on the safety of the vaccines.
Clearing the myth surrounding the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson, minister of Health, Dr. Jonas Chanda said vaccines benefits outweigh rare negatives effects.
Dr Chanda said the benefits of the COVID19 vaccination far outweigh any negatives such as formation of blood clots, which are rare among recipients of some vaccines noted globally.
He said that the local and global health experts having reviewed the medical reports agree that the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh any risks.
“The concerns surrounding the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson about clotting events have been reviewed in the USA, Europe and other countries, and indeed the health experts finally agree that the benefits are vast and in order to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, this intervention is key to protect lives.
Many countries that had “temporally suspended” use of these vaccines out of caution to best understand the side effects have now re-started vaccination with AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson, including in the USA and most European countries,” Dr Chanda said.
It is important therefore that more Zambians take up the vaccines as this is intended to provide some safeguard against covid19. In the event that one contracts covid19, it would not be as severe as it would be if one did not receive the vaccination.
We also feel more sensitization is needed to bring people on board. The fears on clotting need to be laid to rest with assurance from the medical personnel.
Therefore, the planned translation of vaccination information into local language can not come soon enough. This is important because it will afford a large part of the population to understand why this vaccine is important and necessary.
It will help to lay to rest some misapprehension about the vaccines.