The Government of the Republic of Zambia launches a new national COVID-19 vaccination campaign
Under the theme “COVID-19 is not over. Get vaccinated today. Protect yourself, your family and your community”, it will help expand the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Programme to increase vaccine coverage to over 70 per cent of the population.
Lusaka, 5 October 2022 – The Government of the Republic of Zambia and partners, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), WHO and UNICEF, today launched a ten-day national COVID-19 vaccination campaign targeting children aged 12 to 17 and adults 18 and above across the country. With this new vaccination push, the aim is to increase the proportion of fully vaccinated people to 70 percent of the population, no less than 6,188,818 people.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Garry Nkombo, who graced the launch event, expressed his appreciation to partners for their assistance and valuable support to the Zambian people during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Although it seems that we have passed the worst part, we are still registering COVID-19 cases on daily basis, and this puts an additional stress on our health system. The battle against the pandemic is far from being over, and we need to continue joining hands to win this battle. Our goal is to increase the percentage of fully vaccinated people, so today, I take this opportunity to make a call and ask Zambians to get vaccinated. It’s our duty as responsible citizens. Vaccines are safe and effective, please do your part.”
The Honorable Minister of Local Government and Rural Development was accompanied by his counterparts - Hon. Sylvia Masebo, Minister of Health, and Hon. Mike Mposha, Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection.
Speaking at the launch event, CDC Zambia Country Director, Dr. Andrew Auld said: “The U.S. Government is honored to partner with the Zambian Government in the fight against COVID-19 and supporting the national response. Our support includes equitable access to and delivery of safe COVID-19 vaccinations, funding the national risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) sub-committee at the Ministry of Health, addressing human resources for health (HRH) needs and integrating COVID-19 vaccination into HIV treatment centers, leveraging on Zambia’s HIV programme, and improving data collection and data analysis of vaccine coverage.”
Zambia has received around 21 million COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility — a partnership co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) with UNICEF as key delivery partners; the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and bilateral donations. Of these, UNICEF has brought in the country 19 million COVID-19 vaccines, including those used in the vaccination drive launched today.
“These COVID-19 vaccines are proven safe and effective in preventing severe disease and death. They will contribute towards mitigating transmission of the virus in Zambia when implemented with public health and social measures. These are also vital to end the pandemic and accelerate global recovery,” said Dr. Nathan Bakyaita, Representative, WHO Zambia.
In addition to bringing the vaccines, UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Health (MOH) to procure and install the first Ultra Cold Chain (UCC) facility of 2,484 liters at the national level to receive and store up to 600,000 Pfizer BioNTech vaccine doses. Additional 10 UCC facilities have been established at subnational level with capacity to store around 2 million Pfizer doses. Moreover, UNICEF procured and supported MOH with 10 mobile UCC. In this vaccination round, support has been provided in terms of advocacy, communication and social mobilization support, vaccine logistics and distribution, and micro planning in all districts across Southern, Eastern, Luapula and Western provinces.
“We know that vaccination is a vital pillar of the COVID-19 response here in Zambia and is key in our efforts to contain the transmission of COVID-19 and subsequently help families recover from its devastating impacts. Therefore, UNICEF welcomes the launch of this new vaccination drive and reaffirms its commitment to continue providing support to strengthen COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the country while strengthening childhood routine immunization,” stated Benjamin Meyer, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Zambia.
With USAID funding, UNICEF has worked hand in hand with MOH in the development of a new training curriculum for COVID-19 vaccination rollout; and has built the capacity of 80 cold chain handlers, 193 master trainers and 800 health care facility staff across eight provinces, with USAID and Government of Japan funding support.
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For more information, please contact:
Serah Masonde, Head of Communication, MOH. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Tel: +260964600407
Maria Fernandez, Chief of Communication, Advocacy, Partnerships and Engagement (CAPE), UNICEF Zambia. Email: email@example.com; Telephone: +260977300636.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Zambia, visit www.unicef.org/zambia.