The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 says Malawi will soon start administering Covid-19 vaccine booster doses to those eligible.
Th i s fol l ows changes the task force has made in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines following recommendations from experts and a review of emerging information pertaining to the vaccines.
The Covid-19 vaccine booster dose restores decreasing immunity and is administered after the primary series of vaccination.
Co-chairperson of the task force, Khumbize Chiponda, said in a Covid-19 situation update on Saturday that the booster dose will be administered three months after the second dose of the other present vaccines.
“Booster dose is recommended for eligible individuals at least three months after the primary series of vaccination. The risk groups that include people with comorbidities and the elderly [60 years above] should be prioritised for booster doses,” she said.
According to Chiponda, who is also Minister of Health, the task force has also changed the administration of the Johnson and Johnson (J and J) vaccine from a single dose to a two-dose vaccine to be given 12 weeks apart.
In that regard, people that received the first dose of the J and J vaccine are being encouraged to receive the second dose of the same vaccine as a booster dose.
These changes mean the AstraZeneca vaccine and the J and J vaccine will both be given twice at an interval of 12 weeks apart to those aged 18 and above while the Pfizer vaccine will be given twice at an interval of four weeks apart to those aged 12 years and above.
Chiponda said further analysis is being conducted to ensure that when Covid-19 vaccines are given, a person should receive maximum benefits associated with the type of vaccine they receive.
On Saturday, Malawi received 277 080 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were provided by the Japanese Government through the Covax Facility—a global initiative intended to secure equitable access to vaccines.