Malawi Adds More Covid-19 Vaccines in Attempt to Stem Surge

Blantyre, Malawi — The Malawi government has announced it will start inoculating its citizens with several COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to protect more of its population amid growing coronavirus infections. Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says the extra vaccine is necessary to fill a gap.

Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says the COVID-19 vaccines Malawi has added include Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sputnik, Sinovac and Sinopharm.

Kandodo, who also is the co-chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, says the country is expected to receive a donation of 300,000 doses each of the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines in early August.

“We have done this because we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket, as has been the case,” said Kandodo. “That’s why we have opened up to include other vaccines, which can fill the gaps that would be created.”

She assured Malawians that the government has independently verified the safety and efficacy of the newly recommended vaccines.

Malawi stopped vaccinating its citizens in June when it ran out of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Records show that about 400,000 people have been vaccinated — far short of the 11 million people needed to reach herd immunity.

In May, Malawi destroyed about 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which expired in April.

The incineration was largely because many Malawians were reluctant to be vaccinated due to concerns about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

Malawi is expected, however, to receive a fresh consignment of 192,000 doses of the AstraZeneca next week.

But Kandodo said the vaccine will be restricted to unvaccinated health workers and those who already have a single dose.