Administration of the second dosage of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will roll out on 3rd June, a month away from the initial schedule.
According to new evidence available on the use of the vaccine endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the use of the shot remains a two-dose schedule but it is more efficacious if the interval is put at a minimum of 12 weeks.
A statement from Ministry of Health’s Principal Secretary Dr. Charles Mwansambo, says this has consequently led to the change in policy direction on government’s part.
“The ability of the vaccine to protect one from being hospitalized or have a severe COVID-19 disease rises up to more than 80% if the second dose is given at not less than 12 weeks from the first dose.
“It is important that we maximize the benefits of this new vaccine for COVID-19 prevention by ensuring that we follow the updated evidence so that we can protect the people both individually as well as when we achieve herd immunity.
“It is against this available evidence that the Ministry of Health informs health workers and the general public that administration of our second dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine will start on 3rd June 2021,” read the statement.
Mwansambo urged those who received the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure they get their second dose after a minimum of 12 weeks from the date of their first dose by just adding a month to their scheduled date.
For instance, those who were due to receive their second dose on the 6th of May will get it on the 6th of June 2021.
In the meantime, government shall continue giving the jab to everyone above 18.
Malawi launched its COVID-19 inoculation drive on 11th March 2021 and a mass vaccination campaign followed from 15th March, in all districts across the country.
Currently over 300,000 people aged 18 and above have been vaccinated.
The country is by the end of this month expected to receive 900, 000 doses of the jab through the COVAX facility.