Ministry of health denies unauthorized COVID vaccines allegations

The Ministry of Health has denied being the consignee in ordering unauthorized Covid-19 vaccines, following recent allegations made against the Ministry.

In a statement issued to the media, Permanent Secretary of Technical Services Dr. Kennedy Malama stated that at no time did the Ministry undertake any tendering process for the procurement of vaccines at which Chrismar Earthmoving Equipment was selected.

Following Cabinet approval of the commencement of the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme for Zambia, on March 24 2021, the Ministry of Health had only received vaccines through the COVAX facility and through donations from bilateral partners,

he said.

Dr. Malama added that government also placed an order of four million four hundred thousand (4, 400, 000) doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), which is an initiative of the African Union (AU).

The procuring agency under this initiative is United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The first batch of vaccines under the AVAT facility consisting of 129,500 doses of Johnson and Janson vaccines is expected in early September.

he stated.

Dr. Malama further said that the Ministry wishes to reiterate its commitment to ensuring that only authorized vaccines whose quality, safety and effectiveness are guaranteed will be brought into the country and administered to the public.

The Ministry has since commended the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) for seizing and destroying a consignment of 10,000 doses of a suspected Covid-19 vaccine imported into the country without authorization.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo has expressed concern over the high number of HIV infections in the country.

I’m concerned about the high HIV and AIDS infection rates in the country. We have over 43,000 people getting infected annually and we must immediately remedy this situation by correct and consistent use of condoms, avoid the practice of unprotected sex and get to know our status by taking an HIV test and if positive starting ARVs early,

she said.

The Minister added that the country must take cognizant of the fact that Covid-19 is here for a while, and has since urged all Zambians to maintain following the prescribed health guidelines of masking up, social distancing and keeping hands clean by washing with soap and running water or using a hand sanitizer.

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