Maputo — Mozambican Health Minister Armando Tiago has warned that the issue of African countries receiving Covid-19 vaccines shortly before their expiry date is a stumbling block for the management of health systems, imposing an urgent need to vaccinate a great many people in a very short time.
In his opening remarks on Tuesday from Maputo at the extraordinary meeting of Health Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), held virtually, Tiago said the issue also compromises the effectiveness of the vaccination campaigns.
Tiago, who chairs the regional body on health matters, also stressed that vaccine availability and the reception of vaccines in only minimal quantities hamper achievement of the desired coverage.
"In this meeting, our attention must be focused essentially on the identification of actions which will improve our collective performance," he said, adding that member countries should decide very wisely on every proposal crafted at the technical meeting held on Monday.
The minister urged member countries to enhance collective actions in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, while not losing sight of the heavy burden of other diseases.
In spite of the efforts and progress attained among member countries with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tiago said there is a very strong necessity to strengthen joint plans, so as to ensure the availability of the vaccine as well as defending regional gains. "Member states must remain committed to fighting for the reduction of new infections and Covid-19 death rate," he stressed.
The Mozambican government in partnership with the private sector will soon make an enormous purchase of vaccines, in order to ensure the vaccination of other groups and ensure the principle of inclusive coverage.
After the start of the vaccination drive in March, which targeted initially the frontline workers, mostly health professionals, 82,628 individuals have already been vaccinated with two doses of vaccine. Mozambique expects to receive more doses in different phases to vaccinate other, lower priority groups.