Low Vaccine Uptake Worries Experts
Worried with low COVID-19 vaccine uptake, health experts have tipped the Ministry of Health to devise new approaches to increase numbers of the vaccinated.
Sandra Mapemba recommends working closely with local structures, such as chiefs, an intervention she hopes can enhance public trust on COVID-19 vaccination.
Apart from chiefs, Mapemba told Zodiak Online that vaccine uptake requires mindset change, as such bridging information gaps around the vaccines would break circles of myths and fears.
“It’s critical to include religious leaders and traditional leaders because some beliefs are cultural or religious but also working closely with schools to make sure that the vaccinations are ready,” she observed.
Another expert, Maziko Matemba, says Malawi is not doing well on the December 2022 target to have at least 11 million people vaccinated.
Matemba is cautioning that not prioritizing campaign programs could roll back the strides made towards vaccinating a larger population by the end of this year.
“We were supposed to be around 50 or 60 percent as you know other countries had the same target of about 11 million population to be vaccinated so this should worry us because the vaccines are available even at global level,” he added.
Commenting on the concerns, Ministry of Health spokesperson, Adrian Chikumbe revealed that the ministry will roll out a new campaign that has new approaches.
Chikumbe did not indicate when the ministry is rolling out the new Intervention, only saying: “We are still trying to find ways of how to promote uptake of the vaccine because recently we did a survey just to know why vaccine uptake is still low. Based on those results, we thought we could develop another campaign.”
About 11.8 percent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, far short of the 60 percent target for December 2022 set by the government.