The Ministry of Health says it will start administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine on June 3.
Secretary for health Dr. Charles Mwansambo has said this in a statement today.
Malawi started vaccination exercise on March 11 and a mass vaccination campaign followed from 15th March in all districts across the country. People were initially expected to get second dose eight weeks after the first.
However, Mwansambo says recent evidence endorsed by World Health Organization shows that the use of AstraZeneca vaccine remains a two-dose schedule but the vaccine is more efficacious if the interval is put at a minimum of 12 weeks.
“The ability of the vaccine to protect one from being hospitalized or have a severe COVID-19 disease rises up to more than 80% if the second dose is given at not less than 12 weeks from the first dose.
“It is important that we maximize the benefits of this new vaccine for COVID-19 prevention by ensuring that we follow the updated evidence so that we can protect the people both individually as well as when we achieve herd immunity,” he said.
Mwansambo has since encouraged everyone who received the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that they get their second dose after a minimum of 12 weeks from the date of their first dose.
People have been advised to just add a month to the scheduled date i.e those who were due to receive their second dose on the 6th of May, will get it on the 6th of June and so on and so forth.
Malawi continues giving the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone above 18 years of age. Currently over 300,000 people have been vaccinated.