MRCS, MoH urge journalists to up their game on Covid-19 vaccination messages

According to the ministry, as of Friday 24 September 2021, at least 486, 133 were fully vaccinated in which case, 247, 097 got jabs of Astrazeneca while 239, 036 received Johnson and Johnson.

Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) on Saturday urged journalists in the country to help them provide the general public with good messages of the Covid-19 vaccination exercise currently underway in Malawi.

Speaking in Mzuzu during a half-day media orientation on Covid-19 vaccination, officials from the two institutions said it is worrisome that some Malawians in the country have still not received jabs, since the government started to administer different vaccinations, simply because of misinformation.

The routine immunization officer in the ministry, Temwa Mzengeza, said the only hope is that with good reporting on messages around the Covid-19 vaccination, Malawians will respond positively to the call so that the target of at least 11 million Malawians can be hit by December 2022.

"As a country, the uptake is not very good; it is not as we had anticipated. You know we were anticipating vaccinating over 10 million Malawians, and so far we only have about one million doses in the country. So, you can see that we still have that gap, and we were anticipating that as soon as the vaccines come, they should be taken by the people. So, we are not very much impressed but still, by and by  the uptake is increasing," said Mzengeza

Concurring with Mzengeza, National Coordinator for Malawi Red Cross Society, Roster Kufandiko, said it was good to orient the media on the vaccination so as to influence the conduct of the general public towards the same.

Kufandiko said: "Indeed Malawi Red Cross Society has supported the ministry of health to come here to orient and also have an interface discussion with the media regarding Covid-19 vaccination. As you are aware that Malawi has been receiving two different types of vaccinations and amidst that, there are so many myths and misconceptions; including vaccine hesitancy and we thought the media plays a vital role in information dissemination and educating the nation and we thought it would be good to discuss with the media to understand their perspective and also have the ministry of health sharing what is important in as far Covid-19 vaccination is concerned."

On his part Chairperson for the northern region-based group of journalists, Joseph Mwale commended the two institutions for the timely media training on Covid-19 vaccination messages.

"The Covid-19 is a complex pandemic and then it comes with different information almost on a daily basis, so it's very important that the media is oriented routinely in terms of emerging issues and how we as media people can best be reporting on the pandemic," said Mwale.

According to the ministry, as of Friday 24 September 2021, at least 486, 133 were fully vaccinated in which case, 247, 097 got jabs of Astrazeneca while 239, 036 received Johnson and Johnson. The government intends to vaccinate at least 11million Malawians by December 2022.

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