AstraZeneca vaccine arrives in Malawi Friday

COVID-19 vaccine

The first batch of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for Malawi is expected in the country this Friday, March 5, 2021.

Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda told a press briefing in Lilongwe. 

She was speaking when she addressed the daily COVID-19 address where she is Co-chairperson of the presidential committee managing the pandemic. 

Chiponda said the vaccines will come into the country through a Fly Emirates plane at 16:05 pm.

Some 360,000 doses are expected. 

Announced the news: Chiponda

The vaccine comes after South Africa halted its AstraZeneca vaccination drive over concerns of the efficacy to the rainbow nation variant.

Malawi is in the first set of countries to receive 1,476,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Global Vaccines facility.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and World Health Organization (WHO) and is a global mechanism that will ensure developing countries can access a coronavirus vaccine.

Arrival of syringes
Syringes arrive ahead of the vaccines. Photo courtesy of Unicef

Malawi will receive the AZD1222 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University.

On Friday last week, Malawi through Unicef received 360,000 bundled syringes and 3625 safety boxes (for the safe disposal of syringes) for COVID-19 vaccination.

This is part of work by the COVAX Facility to provide vaccines to all participating countries.

Government indications are that health workers, frontline workers are targeted as they are at high risk.

President Lazarus Chakwera could be earmarked to take the first jab as has Ghana's president Nana Akoufo Ado, the first to receive the COVAX aided jab.