Written by  Andrew Magombo - Mana

As the country anticipates the first consignment of Johnson and Johnson vaccine due for arrival this coming Saturday, individuals below the age of 18 have been asked to refrain from getting a jab to avoid health complications, Malawi News Agency has learnt.

We need to follow guided recommendations - Chikumbe We need to follow guided recommendations - Chikumbe

This was revealed on Wednesday by officials from the Ministry of Health during at workshop aimed at training journalists on key information about the vaccine which has efficacy rate of 80 percent.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Lilongwe District Health Office, Richard Mvula said development of Johnson and Johnson like other vaccine entails rigorous chemical trials and testing on older people who have been severely hit with the pandemic from the onset.

He said it has been clinically proven that children have higher immunity to COVID-19 unlike older people who usually have underlying medical conditions that have the potential to exacerbate the disease.

Mvula said other countries have commenced trials on age groups between 12 and 18 years of age.

He asked Malawians for compliance until the World Health Organisation (WHO) makes a recommendation that those below 18 could get the vaccine.

The PRO said that, “We like to be on a safer side as such we are not going to rush into administering the vaccine until we have been advised to do so.”

Ministry of Health’s PRO, Adrian Chikumbe said it was imperative to brief the media fraternity as one the key stakeholders in order to enhance serene information dissemination of Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

He said Malawi would receive 302,400 doses but made an assurance that more consignments will soon follow.

Chikumbe asked those who have received AstraZeneca so far not to get vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson because the latter only requires a single shot.

He said, “Until we have new evidence that it is okay to combine vaccines, Johnson and Johnson is given once. This is in sharp contrast to AstraZeneca which requires two doses.”

When asked to comment on side effects, Chikumbe said side effects like pain are mild and bearable.

He assured Malawians that the vaccine was safe and effective in people with known medical conditions.

As of July 30, 2021, Malawi had received 704, 000 doses of AstraZeneca.

Out of the total, 594,333 doses have been administered while 19,660 were discarded due to expiry.

Statistics indicate that a total number 454,752 of the first dose have been administered so far at least 139, 581 Malawians have received two doses.

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