Health minister Dr. Jonas Chanda yesterday became the first Zambian to receive the first dose of the 2 AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine after er launching the National vaccination programme.
And Government yesterday officially launched the Covid-19 vaccination campaign at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) with Minister of Health Jonas Chanda receiving the first jab of AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr. Chanda led other officials in being vaccinated against Covid-19 at UTH.
Speaking during the launch, the Minister of Health expressed delight with the successful administration of the first consignment of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine under the COVAX facility.
He hoped that the vaccine will help to curb the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate the negative social and economic impact it has caused in Zambia and the world over.
“The vaccine will be an additional tool for government’s response in protecting the population from the pandemic which has negatively impacted on the economic and social wellbeing of society, ‘’ he said.
He explained that the country will utilize the 228,000 vaccine doses which have been received by prioritizing the vaccination of front liners who are at high risk of contracting the virus.
Dr. Chanda added that every eligible Zambian should make a bold decision to be vaccinated saying every citizen should be involved in the fight against the pandemic.
He reiterated that the government will ensure that all myths and misconceptions surrounding the vaccine are cleared and the vaccination exercise is conducted in a transparency and voluntary manner.
Dr. Chanda further said the provincial official launch of the vaccine will be conducted in the next few days across the country.
“The provincial official launch of the vaccine will be held country wide in all the districts at selected vaccination sites in each district,” he said.
Meanwhile, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Coumba Mar Gadio, congratulated the Zambian government for officially launching the first Covid-19 vaccination campaign under the COVAX facility.
Ms. Gadio said everyone should take a bold step and consider taking the vaccination and help in the fight against the spread of the pandemic which has devastated many countries across the world.
‘’This is the time for every citizen to join the campaign and fight against the spread of the pandemic which has affected many lives globally,’’ she said.
Speaking at the same event, European Union (EU) Representative, Jacek Jankowski, pledged US$2.96 billion for the COVAX facility aimed at the fight against the further spread of the Covid-19.
Ambassador Jankowski said government should prioritise the vulnerable group and the less privileged in receiving the vaccination as they are highly affected economically and socially.