Malawi endorses Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 & above

A child being administered COVID-19 jab

There is a huge sigh of relief as the Malawi government through the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has endorsed the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids aged 12 years and above.

The decision is informed by growing international evidence and practice, and advice from local Immunisation Experts Group, age eligibility for use of Pfizer-BioNTech.

In light of this development, the Taskforce calls upon all those eligible to access the injection upon the publication of guidelines on its proper use.

“And now that the Taskforce has endorsed the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for those aged 12 years and above, let me call upon all those that are eligible to access these services as soon as they are available to you.

“The Ministry of Health will soon publish guidelines on the use of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine for those aged 12 years and over,” reads the 28th November statement.

Currently, the vaccination age eligibility policy in Malawi is limited to those aged 18 years and above.

To become a point of entry for purposes of COVID-19 control: Dzaleka 

Co-Chairperson of the Taskforce who is also Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda stressed that for the time being, the extension is only for Pfizer- BioNTech until further expert advice is available and announced regarding other vaccines.

In a related development, Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa district has with immediate effect, technically become a Point of Entry for purposes of COVID-19 control and management.

This follows the impending threat of a fourth wave in the wake of a variant of concern in the world called Omicron identified in some Southern African countries including South Africa and Botswana.

“In this respect, all new arrivals to Dzaleka Refugee Camp should be laboratory tested for COVID-19 on arrival irrespective of the status of their symptoms, and all will continue to be kept in the existing quarantine bay for 14 days before being released to the main camp area as is currently the practice.

“Those that test positive will continue to be managed as per national protocols and district health system institutional isolation arrangements,” said a statement from the Taskforce.