Village elder is advocate for COVID-19 vaccination
Protecting communities against COVID-19
In a picturesque M’dala village, nestled between the foot of Mulanje Mountain and Muloza River in Mulanje, Evelyn Malinda, 95, insisted on getting her COVID-19 vaccine even when most local elderly people where sceptical.
Despite being a Jehovah’s Witness, a Christian religious sect which at one time was against vaccination, Malinda is adamant, using her spirituality as a weapon and not a distraction.
“The Bible says we should abide by what our government says. And so the government says we should go for vaccination, so we must,” she says.
“I feel good now that I have been vaccinated and I never felt any side effects after taking the jab.”
Her granddaughter, Jean Musicha, 38, explained that the whole extended family had been encouraged to get vaccinated owing to their matriarch’s attitude on vaccination.
“It is exciting to see her getting vaccinated as a lot of people were scared to get the jab,” she said.
Musicha insisted that was their grandmother’s own choice to get vaccinated as the elder understood how deadly COVID-19 was, especially to the elderly.
“So she got vaccinated here at home as, due to her age, she could not manage to walk to the vaccination centre,” she explains.
UNICEF health specialist, Dr. Ghanshyam Sethy, said UNICEF had supported local health workers to go house-to-house to vaccinate eligible populations.
“This is our special case as Malinda is the oldest person to get vaccinated in the area and we thought it wise to give her the second vaccine and booster at her home.”
“We do give people vaccines at people’s place occasionally when there is need for that,” he says.
Dr. Sethy said the area he covers had a population of 45,989 people, of which about 12,000 had so far been vaccinated