The United States of America (USA) has pledged to contribute 165,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to the Zambian government through the COVAX facility.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Kennedy Malama disclosed that the United States government has confirmed their contribution of 165,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.
He noted that the consignment of the COVID-19 vaccines will be in the country within the month of July 2021.
Dr Malama noted an improvement in the availability of vaccines in the third and fourth quarter of this year and hence urged members of the public not panic as the government remains committed to ensuring that all the entire eligible population have access to the vaccines.
He has, however, said that the government will commence the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine this Friday July 9, 2021.
“Contrary to some reports on social media, I wish to advise that we have not commenced Dose 1 administration of the vaccine as yet, the date for the commencement of Dose 1 has been set for this Friday, 9th July, 2021,’’he noted.
Dr Malama further disclosed that 2,354 second doses of AstraZeneca vaccinations have been administered bringing the cumulative number of the vaccinations to date to stand at 142,198.
‘’AstraZeneca dose one vaccinations 135,299 and 6,899 Sinopharm and of these, 27,724 have gone on to receive dose 2 vaccinations, with 21,388 dose 2 AstraZeneca of those that received dose 1 and 6,336 dose 2 Sinopharm of those that received dose 1,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours the country has recorded 1,871 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 7,635 tests conducted bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases to date to stand at 169,003. Fifty nine deaths were recorded bringing the cumulative number of deaths to date to stand at 2,618.
Dr Malama further disclosed that the Africa Centers for Disease control and Prevention will recruit 2500 community workers who will beef up community responses to fight against the spread of the virus at community level.
‘’Risk communication and community engagement is a key pillar to response, more so in light of our crusade to take the fight from the hospitals to the communities,’’ he stressed.
‘’This equips members of the public with the correct knowledge to protect themselves against COVID-19 infection, shared through community outreach, television, radio and social media,’’ said Dr Malama.
He disclosed that efforts meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 have continued to be frustrated by some bar owners who are locking patrons in poorly ventilated premises to avoid being inspected and shut down.
‘’During our patrols this long weekend, we found a number of drinking premises reopening despite being directed to not operate, our Lusaka operation alone closed down 28 premises, including 6 nightclubs and 16 bars,’’ said Dr Malama.
This is contained in a statement made available to ZANIS by Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama.