Written by  McDonald Chiwayula
President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has received the first jab of AstraZeneca Vaccine as an encouragement to the citizenry that the vaccine is safe and key to prevention of fatalities arising from COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Chakwera getting the jab Dr Chakwera getting the jab
The Malawi leader received his first dose of the vaccine at Zomba COVID-19 Field Hospital premised at Zomba State Lodge.  The First Lady Monica Chakwera and other dignitaries also received their first doses of the vaccine during the function.
In his address to the Nation, Dr Chakwera said the pandemic has done a great deal of damage to society as such Government has to tackle it with the seriousness it deserves such as closing borders, ordering curfews and bringing the vaccine home.
"This vaccination programme is a must-have in the fight against the pandemic. The damage that COVID-19 has caused to our society is plain for all to see. 10 days from now it will be exactly one year since our war against the pandemic began. Our goal is to roll out this exercise using the 861 sites already in place around the country. 
"No one should fool or scare Malawians with lies about this vaccine. AstraZeneca has been found by our scientists to be safe, effective and suitable. In fact, as a show of good faith, I and others on this platform have volunteered to be the first to be vaccinated," said Dr Chakwera.
The Malawi leader said he phoned and informed former Presidents, Dr Bakili Muluzi and Professor Peter Mutharika that the vaccine is in the country and at their will, they can arrange to receive their first doses.
Health experts say once one gets the first dose a cooling period of 8-12 weeks ought to be observed before getting the second shot. 
Minister of Health, Khumbize Chiponda,  said Malawi is not a lone fighter in this war as other African countries like Kenya have also rolled out mass vaccination,  where over a million people have already received the vaccine.
The President said getting the vaccine is not a licence to lower the guard on preventive measures. He emphasised that all health protocols should be adhered to such as wearing face masks, washing hands with soap and observing the social distance.
To date, 1077 Malawians have succumbed to the pandemic. On a positive note, 24,381 people have recovered from the COVID-19 attack.

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