By Staff Reporter
The Civic Education and National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo together with the Deputy Healthy Minister Chrissie Kanyasho Kalamula have called on Malawians to get vaccinated and ignore the negative rumours aimed at deterring people from getting the vaccine. The two cabinet members were speaking on Sunday evening on Malawi Citizen Chart Network, a social media platform that engages citizens on various issues affecting Malawi.
With a discussion that centred around Covid19 vaccines, Hon Chrissy Kalamula said Malawians should make sure that they get vaccinated. She acknowledged that the vaccine faced negative press in European countries, but she was excited to report that everything has been cleared and the vaccine has been declared safe by relevant authorities. Kalamula said the vaccine strategy that has seen frontline workers being prioritised has so far received positive response. She also thanked the President and Vice president for showing leadership and setting a good example.
“ Our president Dr Chakwera and Vice president Dr Chilima set a very good precedent by being the first to get vaccinated- let me encourage every Malawian , even those in the rural areas to follow suit “ said Kalamula
In his remarks Hon Mtambo said his ministry is working on disseminating information about the vaccine that aims to encourage people to ignore rumours but to go and get vaccinated “ Our ministry has engaged traditional leaders and religious leaders so that they engage the locals and their members and encourage them to go and get vaccinated “. Mtambo went further to say that the Covid19 communication Cluster has so far set platforms such as the use of community radios with messages interpreted in various languages, all aimed at encouraging people to have a good understanding of the virus. Mtambo urged Malawians not to be afraid, highlighting that it is the nurture of vaccines to have some side effects, however, there is nothing dangerous with the Covid vaccine.
Among the citizens that were part of the discussion, Civil society organisation member and sitting in the Presidential Covid response taskforce, Maziko Matemba explained the role the CSO’s are playing in the fight against Covid. Matemba said the nurture of Covid has been challenging for CSO’s due to limitations in meetings and other technical aspects . However, he said the civil society have been supportive on the government efforts against the pandemic citing an example of NICE which has worked with Civic Education Ministry to go into rural areas and sensitize people about the Virus .On this issue, Hon Mtambo added that most CSO’s also faced funding challenges but that government is still engaging the civil society to find better ways on how they can work together.
Another panellist Canga Kamwambe questioned the current government strategy on vaccine inoculation. Canga expressed concern that it was worrying to see many people who are not frontline workers posting on social media that they have received the vaccine. In her response, the deputy health minister said Malawians should also be aware that people with underlying health conditions will also be a priority and that some of the people who happen to have received the vaccine have done so due to having underlying health conditions. She said government will have a look at the process to make sure that right people are getting vaccinated at the right time .
Also on the panel, UK based Chalo Mvula testified of his experience after getting the Astra Zeneca Vaccine which he said despite experiencing mild fever the day after the vaccine , he has not experienced any threatening side effects . Mvula said Malawians should be aware that some of the negative publicity around the Astra Zeneca vaccine are to do with geopolitics of the European Union, but that both the European Medicines Agency and World Health Organisation (WHO) have cleared the vaccine to be safe .
Malawi Citizen Chat Network is a weekly citizen interaction and this episode was hosted by USA based Minister Mahara Mhango.