Health Minister Dr. Jonas Chanda says Zambia has been allocated doses of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in addition to the COVAX facility.
Speaking during the routine COVID 19 briefing, Health minister Dr. Chanda said the government through the Ministry of Health continues to explore additional options for vaccine acquisition through the three-pillar strategy and it recently received communication from the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) established by the African Union indicating that Zambia has been allocated doses of the Johnson and Johnson’s in addition to the COVAX facility.
Dr. Chanda said that a local task team is this week scheduled to hold a meeting to review the guidelines for the Private Sector and Non-State Actors who have expressed interest in supporting the vaccine acquisition.
“Our local task team is this week scheduled to hold a meeting to review the guidelines for the Private Sector and Non-State Actors who have expressed interest in supporting the vaccine acquisition. The Ministry of Health wishes to guide that our engagement of these private players will proceed cautiously with approved organisations being represented.” Dr. Chanda said.
The Health Minister added that the team will focus on aligning to the country’s Covid-19 Vaccine Acquisition and Deployment processes while ensuring that the safety and efficacy criteria are met throughout the program.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chanda says his Ministry is yet to determine if the country will record a “spike” in case of numbers following the just ended long Easter weekend and the risk imposed by the events held.
“We remain observant of any new cohorts of cases that may probably have resulted from the “few unsupervised super-spreader events” that may have occurred over the Easter weekend. We are yet to determine if we will record a “spike” in case numbers following this long Easter weekend and the risk imposed by the events held.” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the country has in the last 24 hours recorded 62 new cases of COVID 19 out of 2,438 tests conducted with 2 new deaths recorded from Northern and Southern Provinces.
160 discharges were recorded from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management with the country currently having 2,509 active cases, of which 76 are admitted to COVID-19 isolation facilities with 58 on Oxygen therapy and 10 in critical condition.
Dr. Chanda says case admissions have remained stagnant adding that the severity of disease remains high and similarly mortality continues to be recorded at a steady rate, with the numbers from Northern Province currently causing concern.
He added that it is against this background that On Thursday, a technical team led by the Zambia National Public Health Institute, will hold a review meeting to analyze the performance of the multisectoral response to the COVID-19 as a detailed assessment of the performance in each of the 8 Pillars is critical in preparing for the probable third wave anticipated to occur during the cold months of June and July 2021.