Misconceptions undermining Covid-19 vaccine uptake

Mphatso Banda, Mana, Blantyre. Blantyre District Health Office (DHO) has expressed concern over the low turnout of people taking the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in the district due to myths and misconceptions being peddled by some misguided individuals.

In a period of March to June this year, out of the 260, 871 targeted Blantyre population which represents 20% of the district, only 45,946 in both urban and the rural areas have received the Covid-19 vaccine while the available doses will expire on Sunday June 27, 2021.

Speaking during a District Executive Committee (DEC) on Thursday, Blantyre District Environmental Health Officer, Myless Mhango said the DHO will embark on community sensitization and training more medical personnel as some of the activities that will characterize the rolling out of the vaccination programme in the district.

Myths and misconceptions around the vaccine have led to the low uptake, noting that such beliefs have had negative impact in the rural communities unlike in the urban areas, Mhango explained.

Meanwhile the director of Administration for Blantyre District Council, Hastings Dowe has asked the DHO to continue updating the DEC on various strategies aimed at containing and managing Covid-19 pandemic and also urged DEC members in the district to act on the messages to avoid proliferation of cases of misconceptions surrounding Covid-19, in general.

Out of 54,000 doses Blantyre DHO received, 5,720 doses expired.