Malawi has maintained its stance that it will not use the expired AstraZeneca vaccine despite a recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) vouching on its efficacy that it is still safe to use.
In an interview with CNN on Thursday, President Lazarus Chakwera stood firm on the position arguing that his administration continues to be cautious on the choices it makes for its people.
He therefore stood his ground that Malawi will not use expired injections on its citizens.
“We don’t want people thinking that we are settling just for anything that comes our way even if it is expired. People shouldn’t be thinking that we are a dumping ground; and so in as much as we understand how that the efficacy of the same would still be there several months after expiry, we just need to be very very careful so our people do not feel that they are being shortchanged by their leadership,” said Chakwera.
Asked by host Zain Asher if he does not trust the WHO recommendation to still use the shots considering that Malawi finds itself in a desperate situation when it comes to the vaccine roll-out Chakwera responded:
“WHO has been saying a lot of things that have not been accepted everywhere you know uniformly and so what we’re saying is we need to sensitize our people and it is our duty to be able stand with our people so that we can move together.
“It’s not a matter of trying to force everyone to take vaccines but rather to lobby everyone to do that so we can save more lives.”
The Malawi leader noted that Africa continues to lag behind in terms of vaccinations largely because it depends on international pharmaceuticals that are able to produce them while Africa cannot do so.
However Chakwera is of the view that the injections should be accessible to all in order to effectively handle the global pandemic.
Malawi has not been spared by corruption especially in the disbursement of COVID-19 funds as highlighted in the Auditor General’s report which unearthed massive plunder.
The President admitted that when shortcuts are taken, it gives room to abuse of resources which do not reach intended beneficiaries.
On the firing of Ken Kandodo as a member of his Cabinet who was serving as Labour Minister, he stressed that he will not tolerate any acts of corruption.
“Even though the said Minister explained and even the audit does explain that the money had been returned, nonetheless we want to do what is right and we want everyone to understand that we will not put up with anything that smacks corruption or defrauding the Malawian people and this is not just over COVID funds.
“We want to extend it to other funds because audits over the years have shown that much goes missing and nothing happens and I do not want my administration to take this lightly,” the President explained.