Experts Urge Govt To Tread Carefully on AstraZeneca Vaccine
Health experts have urged caution on Malawi’s decision to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after South Africa put on hold the roll-out of the vaccine.
Public health expert Professor Maurine Chirwa and health rights activist George Jobe have expressed surprise that Malawi has opted for a vaccine which is still being developed, and are of the view that government should run an independent efficacy test of the vaccine before its roll-out in Malawi.
Currently, South Africa has put roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine on hold after a study showed it did not do well against the new Covid-19 variant in the country.
They have since appealed to government to seek scientific guidance on whether the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine that the country has procured is effective or not.
Professor Chirwa observes that government’s action on the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is out of panic and that President Lazarus Chakwera is only trying to save the situation.
“It’s a different situation. And sometimes one fails to go for the best when there’s nothing to compare with. Maybe half bread is better than none. Let it come, procure it. But let us be ready that when the other doses come, they can cover-up,” she said.
Professor Chirwa further made reference to cheap HIV/Aids drugs which caused deformities in some patients, hence the call to act wisely.
Health Rights activist George Jobe has asked government to involve the Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority to scientifically prove the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Said Jobe, “What we advised earlier is that when the legal, technical, expert body the Pharmacy and medicines Regulatory Authority should make a statement. We should know that South Africa made a decision. We saw their consignment, so their decision may be coming from experts.”
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine has proved ineffective to the South African variant which has also hit the country, forcing the rainbow nation to suspend distribution.