Zambia approves Pfizer, AstraZeneca, three other COVID-19 vaccines

Zambia approves Pfizer, AstraZeneca, three other COVID-19 vaccines
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines | Image via Reuters

Zambia has approved five COVID-19 vaccines to be administered to citizens as a preventive measure against the pandemic, a government official said on Tuesday.

The vaccines include China's Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca Covishield, AZD 12225-Korea AstraZeneca, and Pfizer Biotech.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health in charge of Technical Services, Kennedy Malama, stated that the five vaccines had been approved by the country's medicines regulator, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA).

Malama said this followed stringent review processes and riding on the World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency use listing of the vaccines.

"As you are aware, these vaccines are part of the basket of vaccines approved by cabinet for Zambia to use on its people subject to authorization by ZAMRA.

"Government is taking all necessary steps to mobilize vaccines for the Zambian people and we will continue updating the nation,'' he said during a COVID-19 update press briefing.

Zambia had launched the vaccination program in April which was being done in a phased manner.

The first phase targets health workers and other people most at risk.

Meanwhile, the country recorded 558 cases in the last 24 hours out of 8,070 tests done.

This brings the cumulative cases to 95,821 while 83 patients were discharged, bringing total recoveries to 92,039.

The country also lost one person due to COVID-19 in the same period, bringing the total deaths to 1,282.

"Today Zambia finds itself in the top six countries in the region with high numbers in the last 24 hours.

"We call upon all well-meaning Zambians to take immediate personal action in complying with the public health measures,'' he said.

According to him, the epidemiological reviews shows that the situation was worsening daily and that the coming weeks will be critical.

The spike in cases in recent weeks had forced the government to impose a rotational work system for public workers.

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