By NATION REPORTER
THERE is severe disease, deaths and increased risk of miscarriages or having premature babies among unvaccinated pregnant women who test positive for Covid-19, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama has said.
Dr Malama also said the elderly were among the majority of the Covid-19 deaths being reported.
He also announced that 67 people have died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours while 1, 619 new cases were detected out of 6, 485 tests conducted.
“We have noted the concerns raised with regard to the administration of the vaccines to pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly,” he said.
Dr Malama however said the ministry had done due diligence through the Zambia Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (ZITAG) and found that the Covid-19 vaccine had no negative effects in pregnancy.
He said additionally, the Covid-19 vaccine being a non-live vaccine was safe to use in breast feeding mothers.
“Whereas there is a lower age limit for the vaccines (18 years), there is no upper limit and therefore as guided by the WHO, the elderly in Zambia are considered a priority in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“Based on these findings, the Zambia Covid-19 vaccination guidelines support the vaccination of pregnant and lactating women as well as the elderly based on the great potential benefits,” Dr Malama said.
He also said in the last 24 hours 2, 023 dose two of AstraZeneca vaccine were administered.
“Our cumulative vaccinations to date now stand at 142, 198 Dose 1 vaccinations (6, 899 Sinopharm and 135, 299 AstraZeneca) and of these, 25, 370 have gone on to receive Dose 2 vaccinations i.e. 19, 034 Dose 2 AstraZeneca (14 percent of those that received dose 1) and 6, 336 Dose 2 Sinopharm (92 percent of those that received dose 1),” Dr Malama said.
He reminded the public that all Covid-19 vaccines were free of charge and that they should report anyone asking for money in the vaccination programme.
Dr Malama also said 25 business premises (including bars, nightclubs and wholesale liquor outlets) that did not meet the operating standards or adherence to the guidelines were closed.
He said authorities would continue with closures and prosecutions as part of the response.