Two years after the onset of COVID-19, UNICEF and WHO recall the crucial importance of adherence to vaccination

10 March 2022
Vaccination de Ratsikitsiky
UNICEF/UN0518429/Ramasomanana

Antananarivo, 10 March, 2022 –Madagascar has been living to the rhythm of the COVID-19 pandemic for two years and UNICEF, with WHO, reiterates that the vaccine is essential in order to fight against this disease.

Indeed, the vaccine remains the safest way to protect oneself and others. UNICEF, WHO and their partners have worked closely to ensure that every Malagasy has access to vaccines and benefits from a full vaccination scheme.

Based on WHO guidelines and recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine (ANAMEM), the country adopted vaccination as a response strategy to COVID-19 and developed its national vaccine deployment plan in April 2021. The implementation of this plan covers the period from May 2021 to June 2023 and aims to vaccinate 50.5 per cent of the total population distributed as follows: 3.5 per cent of the population (1,000,000 people aged 18 and more) in 2021; 30.95 per cent (8,707,155) in 2022; and 16 per cent (4,501,809) in 2023.

Thanks to its membership of the COVAX mechanism, Madagascar launched the first phase of vaccination against COVID-19 on 10 May, 2021 with the Astra Zeneca/Covishield vaccine. The range of vaccines has gradually expanded with Janssen, Sinopharm and most recently Pfizer. The opportunities to have more doses of vaccines increased with the country joining the African Union Initiative with funding from the World Bank, then with the vaccine cost-sharing mechanism with COVAX financed by the World Bank and finally with donations through bilateral cooperation. More than 20 million vaccines will be procured through UNICEF, the world's largest purchaser of vaccines.

As of 09 March, 2022, the number of people having received a dose of vaccine is 1,258,980 and only 1,012,453 people have been completely vaccinated, i.e. a complete vaccination coverage of 3.5 per cent. This low coverage could explain the high circulation of the virus within the communities. Unlike some countries where vaccination coverage is on the rise, this explains that the vaccine is obviously efficient and that it significantly reduces the transmissibility of the virus and provides more than 80 per cent protection against severe forms, regardless of the variant.

Moreover, like any product for human use, there is no such thing as zero risk. Over millions of doses administered worldwide, we have noted a small proportion of people who had experienced adverse effects. Vaccine side effects are generally not harmful with bothersome symptoms rarely lasting longer than 3 days after vaccination.

The fact that all stakeholders join efforts contributes to strengthening the demand for immunization services at the country level. Several approaches support the generation of demand. Among them are advocacy, which is the axis intended to influence decision-making mechanisms, at the level of decision-makers (local, political, administrative, traditional, religious authorities, FDS, Fokontany Chiefs, etc..), social mobilization involving NGOs, implementing actors through community-based approaches to mobilize communities, and communication for change through community consciousness-raising, media, print media etc…). Human resources (VNU, STOP TEAM, POT) are deployed in all regions to support this generation of demand. The identification and operationalization of these components are guided by behavioural studies regularly carried out at the level of communities and the various priority targets.

Media contacts

Timothy James Irwin
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Madagascar
Lalaina Ralaiarijaona
Communication officer
UNICEF Madagascar

A propos d'UNICEF

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