The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has said Malawi will from January 1 2022 start administering Pfizer of teenagers aged 12 to 17 years with to protect them from the pandemic.
Epidemiologists have since hailed the move as progressive children are getting infected with the virus, thereby requiring protection from the Pfizer vaccine which has been tried and tested in children.
Task force co-chairperson Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda yesterday told journalists in Lilongwe that the vaccine will be delivered through the usual static and outreach clinics nationwide.
She said: “Parents and teenagers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity as our children return to school soon.
“Please note that Pfizer vaccine requires one to take two doses with the second dose coming after four weeks.
“We urge parents and guardians to make use of this chance to ensure that their children are also protected.”
In an interview yesterday, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences epidemiology professor Adamson Muula said the efficacy of Pfizer is globally proven safe in young people.
He said: “ The Pfizer vaccine has been proven safe for young people, it is much safer in children aged between 12 and 17. You can be assured that we are giving our children the right vaccine.
“In terms of the country’s state of Covid-19 virus in children, we really are not at that serious stage but the cases are increasing in Europe.”
Muula said young people do not really get sick, but the danger is that they transmit the virus to parents and guardians.
In a related development, Kandodo Chiponda, who is also Minister of Health, said the worry about the expiry of 210 000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by today is history because the doses have been used.
She said the ministry prioritised the uptake of the Astrazeneca vaccine nationwide through ongoing scale up initiatives such as the Vaccine Express Initiative.
Kandodo Chiponda said on a single day 28 000 people were vaccinated on a single day, a record in the country.
On the complete uptake of 210 000 doses of AstraZeneca, Muula commended the government for making efforts to ensure there is no wastage but advised the government to ensureits availability when they will need to take the second dose.
Kandodo Chiponda said currently Malawi has 700 000 Johnson & Johnson jabs and 400 000 Pfizer vaccines available in health facilities.
She said currently Covid-19 booster dose is not yet a policy but discussions are underway and the nation will be informed on the outcome accordingly.
As of 29 December 2021 the country registered 73 238 cases of Covid-19.