DOWA (Malawi News Agency) – Malawi Red CROSS Society (MRCS) says various political understanding regarding COVID-19 vaccine is having an impact in as far as reception of the vaccine messages are concerned thereby creating some resistance to its uptake.
President of Malawi Red Cross, Innocent Majiya, told journalists at Mponela in Dowa on Tuesday along the sidelines of a Covid-19 engagement meeting with traditional leaders.
MRCS in conjunction with Ministry of Health are conducting engagement meetings on the vaccine with key stakeholders.
Majiya said such false information needs to be countered so that people realise the importance of the vaccine and take it.
“There is a lot that is happening out there. We talk of the social media and democracy which are giving different political understanding as people who spread such false information do so to advance their agendas.
“That is why as MRCS we would like to stand with government to explain and give out the truth about this vaccine,” he said.
He said they sought to simplify the exercise by engaging the traditional leaders saying communities are ready to receive such messages through their leadership.
Ministry of Health Deputy Director of Preventive Health Responsible for Community Health, Ms Doreen Ali, said the ministry is engaging stakeholders to equip them with skills so that they are able to disseminate the messages to the masses.
“We have so many misconceptions going around and if the chiefs are well equipped they will be able to clarify such information with fellow chiefs and down to the communities,” she said.
However, Ali said despite such misconceptions the turn out to the vaccination is good saying people have taken it up as one of the important intervention and they are coming in large numbers.
Senior Chief Lukwa who spoke on behalf of fellow chiefs emphasised on the need to accept that the pandemic has befallen us hence the need to accept and adhere to the preventive measures that government has put in place such as the vaccine.
“The vaccine is important because a lot of people have succumbed to the pandemic unlike to the other pandemics which have been there before. That is why there is that call to adhere to the preventive measures,” he said.
MRCS has, with support from the European Union (EU) and Danish Red Cross, set aside K150 million that will support risk communication and community engagements with various influential groups.
Malawi rolled out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on March 11, 2021 with President Chakwera being the first to receive the jab during the launch in Zomba while his vice, Saulos Chilima had his in Mzuzu the same day.