President Lazarus Chakwera and First Lady Monica Chakwera have today received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine.
The two got the jab at the Malawi Vaccine roll-out launch at Zomba Covid-19 Field Hospital in Zomba.
Former President Joyce Banda and former First Gentleman Richard Banda as well as officials from the military and the United Nations were also expected to get the jab during the launch.
The vaccine involves getting two shots, the second coming eight weeks after the first, and Malawi has established 861 vaccination sites across the country.
Speaking when he launched the rollout, Chakwera said the vaccination programme is a major milestone for the country as the vaccine will assist the country in the fight against Covid-19.
The Malawi leader added that no one should scare Malawians with lies about the vaccine.
“The AstraZeneca Vaccine has been found by our scientists to be safe, effective and suitable. As a show of good faith, I and others have volunteered to be the first to be vaccinated, so that you can see that the vaccine is safe,” said Chakwera
During the vaccination programme, 60,000 health workers will be among the first to get the jab.
Chakwera said that health workers in Malawi have conducted over 200,000 tests, helped over 24,000 people recover from Covid and have given over 5 million hours of selfless service hence the country owes them a great debt of gratitude.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda reiterated that it is not mandatory for a person to get the vaccine. She added that the vaccine is for free and urged people to report anyone found demanding money in exchange for a jab.
Malawi on March 5 received 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine via the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
The country has recorded a total of 32,614 cases including 1,077 deaths and 24,381.