The Ministry of Health has disclosed that Zambia will take part in COVID-19 Vaccine trials.
Speaking today at the COVID-19 daily briefing, Director of Infectious Diseases Professor Lloyd Mulenga said that the Zambia was ready for vaccine trials as it has the capacity to monitor the safety and efficacy of any vaccine, adding that the country had the numbers and institutions to carry out the trials.
“For vaccine trials, we are ready, we have institutions in the country which can enroll both in the public sector,” Prof Mulenga said
Prof Mulenga further disclosed that public hospitals, public research institutions, and private research Institutions have enough people to meet the target of thousands of people required for phase three vaccine trials.
“When you talk of the phase three you are talking of thousands, we are not shy of those numbers and also we have enough capacity to monitor the safety of these vaccines besides the efficacy,” Prof Mulenga said.
Prof Mulenga said that it was important for Zambia to look at the COVID-19 Trial Vaccines as opportunities to know if Zambia’s population can be protected as well from the vaccine under trial.
“I think it’s important for the country to look at all these as opportunities, if there is a vaccine which meets the safety standards and also opportunities for the countries to participate, it’s good for us to know if our populations are going to be protected by this vaccine as well.”
He said achieving vaccination of 70 to 71 percent of the population is what would guarantee community protection from COVID-19 by creating what he described as the herd immunity, where there will only be a few that would be able to get the disease.
Prof Mulenga said currently, no COVID-19 vaccine had been approved by the World Health Organisation.
Meanwhile, speaking earlier at the same briefing, the Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya has announced that Zambia recorded a suspected COVID-19 death of a 66-year-old male who presented hypertension and succumbed to the condition before results were released.
He said the results will be availed to the public in due course. Dr. Chilufya has however indicated that 162 new cases have been recorded out of 1017 tests conducted bringing the cumulative number of cases to 8663 countrywide.
He said frontline health workers continue to be at risk and four of them have been found positive out of the tests conducted.
He said 83 patients have been admitted to the Levy Mwanawasa COVID-19 center 32 of whom require oxygen support 5 are in critical condition and admitted in the intensive care unit while 33 patients are admitted in various health facilities countrywide.
Cumulatively the number of deaths stands at 246, 7 401 recoveries.
Dr. Chilufya has since called on Zambians to reduce community spread by adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
“We have been talking about interventions that we need to conduct and these interventions have been masking up, watching the distance, watching crowding places, staying home and washing your hands and ensuring that you seek medical attention early if you are symptomatic,” he emphasized.