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COVID-19: DON’T RELAX

AMIDST the frightening figures of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, Zambians should welcome the announcement that Government has secured more funds for vaccines.

The announcement should also serve to assure the nation that Government has not thrown in the towel and given up in fighting Covid-19 but will go the extra mile to ensure that citizens are protected.

According to Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Dr Kennedy Malama, Government has mobilised funds for the procurement of at least three million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).

“In addition, we have further submitted all the requirements under COVAX for the 108, 000 AstraZeneca doses and these are expected in the country next week,” Dr Malama said.

What was even more assuring was his statement that a number of stakeholders are coming forward to support the ramping up of the oxygen production, delivery and maintenance.

Yes, these are difficult times for the country as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic takes its toll.

We note that as at yesterday, Dr Malama announced that Zambia recorded 2, 913 new confirmed Covid-19 cases out of 12, 703 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 125, 157.

He also announced that 29 more people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, adding that, “those we lost ranged in age from 28 to 96 years.”

These grim figures show the need and urgency to step up the vaccination programme to guard against Covid-19 infection.

But the public must realise that vaccinations alone will not stop the pandemic from spreading, that health protocols must be observed and not treated as a joke.

For simply put, Zambia is going through the third wave of Covid-19 which has not been helped by not having enough vaccines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Africa is in the middle of a full-blown third Covid wave and there is need for more vaccination,

The total infections have crossed the five million mark and at least seven African countries have run out of vaccines.  “Africa needs millions more doses here and now,” WHO’s Africa Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti said.

Although the WHO does not rank Zambia as being among the most affected as South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt that have recorded the most virus cases in the continent, this is no cause for relaxation.

Zambians must support the government’s efforts to mobilise resources for vaccines by putting in their individual input through adhering to health preventive measures.

They must realise that there is increased demand for vaccines throughout the world, especially in Africa with its overstretched health facilities.

Even locally, we expect more people to go for vaccination now that they have been jolted by  the third wave, than they did when the programme just started.

But even as the third wave rages, there are still some sections of the population who have continued to throw caution to the wind and refuse to wear face masks, let alone maintaining safe distancing.

We implore the cynics not to wait until it is too late but join the fight against the pandemic by listening to the advice from the health specialists.

As the popular adage says, “prevention is better than cure.”

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