Government has reiterated that the COVID-19 vaccines which Zambia will receive are verified by credible sources.
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has disclosed this adding that his ministry will follow the necessary procedures required in receiving and giving vaccines to members of the public.
Dr. Chanda said the issue of COVID -19 vaccines will first have to be taken to Cabinet after which he will issue a ministerial statement in parliament according to what would be agreed upon.
ZANIS reports that Dr. Chanda has since reassured Zambians that the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines will be done in a transparent manner and everything that government is doing is in the best interest of the people.
He said in a briefing after touring Maina Soko hospital in Lusaka today that there will be no back door vaccines that will enter the country and be given to people to endanger their lives.
“Every vaccine that is developed has to answer to the questions of efficacy and safety of the people being vaccinated and as government we will not leave things to chance,” Dr. Chanda explained.
He has meanwhile called on private health institutions that are carrying out COVID-19 tests to desist from exploiting members of public by charging exorbitant prices.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chanda said testing positive to COVID-19 is not a death sentence that should make people panic.
He said government has state of the art equipment and facilities that would handle COVID-19 cases that are being reported in the country.
Dr. Chanda further said people that are testing positive to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic should stay home, use prescribed home remedies and only rush to health centres when they need medical attention.
He said the policy is to admit those with symptoms.
The minister of health has meanwhile emphasised on preventing the spreading of the virus by observing the five COVID-19 prevention golden rules, which are masking up, social distancing, sanitising and staying home where possible.
“We have the capacity to handle and contain this virus as a country. The only thing missing is the enforcement of preventive measures and people not taking individual responsibility,” Dr. Chanda said.
And Dr. Chanda has called the on the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) to rise to the occasion and make sure that all the drugs that are on the market are authorised.
He said all drugs that are not licensed and are being served to members of the public should be withdrawn until certified fit.
The health minister noted that public confidence in the health sector has gone down hence the need for all concerned stakeholders to reassure members of the public of their safety.
He further said there was need to take charge and regulate the messages being given to the public on how to treat and protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Meanwhile, Zambia has recorded nine COVID-19 related deaths, 602 new cases out of the 4, 800 tests that were conducted in the last 24 hours.
Health Minister Jonas Chanda said when he gave the routine daily update on COVID-19 that 254 patients are currently on oxygen with 17 being in a critical condition.
Dr. Chanda said most of the deaths are being recorded in health facilities because some people are getting to the hospital with irreversible conditions.
He urged members of the public to make sure they seek medical attention in good time to avoid losing lives.
“Although deaths are being recorded every day, it is good to note that recoveries are also being recorded hence the need to keep guarding against the spreading of the virus and taking personal responsibility wherever we are,” said Dr. Chanda.
And government has designated Maina Soko military hospital as a COVID-19 isolation centre in order to decongest the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and Levy Mwanawasa Hospital.
Maina Soko military hospital Commandant, Bernard Kapatamoyo said the hospital is happy to work with the Ministry of Health in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brigadier General Kapatamoyo has therefore called on people that usually get health services from Maina Soko hospital to seek services elsewhere as the military hospital will now be dedicated to serving COVID-19 patients.
“As a hospital, we are always ready to offer service whenever we are called upon and has currently offered 86 bed spaces that will be dedicated to COVID-19 patients,” he said.