Lusaka Province Minister Sheal Mulyata has expressed concern over the low Covid-19 vaccination rate as the province has only vaccinated 19.5 percent out of the target of 70 percent.
Speaking during the Covid 19 vaccination campaign launch in Rufunsa District Mrs Mulyata noted that the province is struggling to reach the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the general public against Covid-19 by June 2022.
“ In public health, we know that one of the most cost effective methods known for preventing diseases is vaccination” , she added.
Mrs Mulyata said that milestones have been achieved in controlling the spread of Covid-19 infections through robust strategies and intervention.
She noted that government emphasis is on multi-sectorial approach in promoting evidence based public health practice interventions.
“Despite all these measures, the province is unfortunately still struggling to reach the desired target of vaccinating at least 70 percent of the general population against Covid 19 by 30th June and 2022”, Mrs Mulyata added.
The Provincial Minister has called on Zambians to get vaccinated as it is one of the effective ways of preventing diseases in public health.
She bemoaned that, rumours, myths, and misconception surrounding the spread of covid-19 since its outbreak in 2019 has affected the country’s effective response to address the issues of vaccination.
Mrs Mulyata noted that a lot has been achieved in addressing the pandemic through interventions and strategies through a multi-sectoral approach in promoting public health practices.
Lusaka Province Permanent Secretary Robert Kamalata says that government is committed to achieve the 70 percent target of vaccination in the Province.
“There are a lot of myths surrounding the vaccine, and this has contributed to the low vaccine levels, others it’s because of their religious beliefs and others think it’s a death sentences “, he said
Mr. Kamalata said the fight against Covid-19 is not for the Ministry of Health alone but for the country at large.
UNICEF Chief of Health Dr. Monjur Hossain said his organization will continue supporting government to ensure the roll out of vaccines is successful.
Mr Hossain the United Nations family is supporting the provision of vaccines and ensuring that they are safe for the benefit of Zambians and promoting community engagements.
He said since the outbreak of the pandemic UNICEF through the World Health Organisation WHO) has facilitated the provision of 13 million doses of vaccines and nine million has already been delivered into the country.
“No one will be safe until everyone is safe, so we need to push further to ensure everyone gets the protection they need and they desire the vaccination,” he said.
Dr. Hossain said that Covid 19 vaccination remains key in critical intervention to end the pandemic.
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Acting Country Director Genessa Giorgi added that there is need for a multi-sectorial approach to achieve 70 percent coverage.
She added that The United States government is keen to supporting government in its quest to achieve 70 percent vaccination coverage by June 2022.
“There are over 10 million vaccines in the country and the U.S government has donated over 4.6 million vaccines to Zambia’” Ms Giorgi said.
Rufunsa District Commissioner Richard Mabena added that his district is key to fighting the Covid-19 and urged the residents to take the vaccine.
Mr. Mabena further urged the community in Rufunsa to get vaccinated and drive the economy of the district.
In Chongwe, the District Commissioner Dr. Evans Lupiya has bemoaned the low number of people who have been vaccinated in the district.
Dr. Lupiya stated that despite the efforts made by the district health office and various stakeholders to create demand for covid-19 vaccines among people in Chongwe, the vaccination coverage in the area stands at 24 percent.
He said the low covid-19 vaccination coverage is attributed to barriers such as negative social media messages and constituencies about vaccines, negative traditional as well as religious beliefs.
Dr. Lupiya reiterated government’s commitment towards ensuring that more people in the area and the country at large are vaccinated by ensuring that all barriers preventing them from getting vaccinated are erased.
Dr. Lupiya stated that the vaccination drive is expected to increase vaccination coverage in the area thereby enhancing head immunity of residents in view of the fifth wave of covid-19 which has been reported to be present in other countries such as South Africa.
He also said that government and its cooperating partners are confident that the drive will enable the district to increase demand for covid-19 vaccines.