It has an average of 60 to 70 percent efficacy
"High enough to save millions of lives"
President Lazarus Chakwera has assured the public on the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine in fighting against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking during Sunday’s national address, Chakwera vouched for its effectiveness which stands at 70 percent and rated it as high enough to save lives.
“Different vaccine types vary in their efficacy, but all of them have an efficacy level above 50 percent.
“The vaccine type coming to Malawi has an average of 60 to 70 percent efficacy. Although this is a lower efficacy than that of five of the other vaccine types, it is high enough to save millions of lives.
“In fact, since our only goal is to save lives, the AstraZeneca vaccine has one great advantage over the other vaccines in this regard,” assured the President.
At US$4 a dose, the jab costs two and a half times less than the two other vaccine types, almost four times less than a third type, five times less than a fourth type, and eight times less than a fifth type.
In addition, he pointed out that the vaccine is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The President stated that Malawi will continue monitoring other options as they are being developed, so that she secures what is best for the country.
AstraZeneca injection consists of 1.5 million doses which is enough to cover 750,000 people, and will vaccinate 3.8 million people as matter of urgency.
While taking cognizance of the time it will take to roll out the vaccine across Malawi coupled with the logistical and cultural challenges to overcome them, Chakwera said prevention remains the best weapon against the virus.
Out of the 13,448 people tested over the course of the past week, 2987 new infections were confirmed in the country’s health facilities.
He described the rate of infection as still too high noting it represents a 22 percent positivity rate, and while admitting it is lower than the 29 percent positivity rate from last week, Chakwera noted it is still higher than the 0 to five percent rate being aimed for.
The President indicated this is the reason behind his administration’s decision in keeping schools closed for another two weeks.
“Admittedly, some of the preventive measures you are having to endure are difficult, because they are disruptive to your social life, your professional life, your academic life, and your economic life. But the continued drop in the rate of infection means that your compliance with the measures is making a difference, so let us keep running this race until we reach the finish line of zero infections.
“As I have said before, the hardship of preventing new infections is better than the hardship of treating them. After all, the burden our healthcare workers and health facilities are carrying is already enormous, so whenever you protect yourself and your family from getting infected, you lessen the pressure that our health system is under,” Chakwera observed.
He hailed health workers for the gallant fight they are putting up and urged all citizens to treat them with respect and special appreciation not insults and ingratitude.