Malawians who have already received the first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will have to get the second jab after 12 weeks and not eight as earlier advised.

This is due to emerging scientific evidence that the vaccine is more efficacious if the interval (between administrations of the doses) is put at a minimum of 12 weeks.

“The ability of the vaccine to protect one from being hospitalized or have a severe COVID-19 disease rises up to more than 80% if the second dose is given at not less than 12 weeks from the first dose.

“It is important that we maximize the benefits of this new vaccine for COVID-19 prevention by ensuring that we follow the updated evidence so that we can protect the people both individually as well as when we achieve herd immunity, ” says Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo.

Dr. Mwansambo says this is evidence and direction coming from the World Health Organization-WHO.

Currently over 300,000 people aged 18 years and above have been vaccinated since March 11 when President Lazarus Chakwera and his, Dr. Saulos Chilima, vice got their first jab.

With the new development, it now means that administration of the second dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine will start in Malawi starts on 3rd June 2021.

“We are therefore encouraging everyone… (to) just add a month to your scheduled date i.e those who were due to receive their second dose on the 6th of May, will get it on the 6th of June and so on and so forth,” says Dr. Mwansambo in his statement.

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