Zambia urged to authenticate Covid 19 Vaccine before use on citizens
With the focus for many countries now on securing the Covid-19 vaccines for their citizens, following the recent global spike in the number cases which have led to fresh lock downs, a general concern on the safety of the approved Vaccines.
In Zambia, a governance activist Reuben Lifuka has implored government to authenticate the covid-19 vaccine before administering it on its citizens. He further called on government on a comprehensive sensitisation campaign to provide citizens with the right information regarding the safety of individuals after getting vaccinated.
This comes after the Ministry of Health disclosed that Zambia will next month receive the first batch of covid-19 vaccines and the first to be vaccinated will be those at high risk of contracting the virus among them, journalists, health workers, the elderly and those operating at the county’s borders.
The activist emphasised the need for transparency in the procurement process, to get the vaccine from a reputable intermediary or direct from the manufacturers and avoid using untested entities with no reputation if government is to earn the trust of the Zambian people.
This has been a view by many in Africa, where the safety of vaccines has been questioned.
Lifuka who is also former Transparency International Zambia -TIZ- President is of the view that transparency in the entire process will help to discount various conspiracy theories circulating on social media suggesting that the covid-19 vaccine destined for Africa is meant for population control purposes and not to protect people against the pandemic.
In an interview with Phoenix News, Lifuka has warned against making it mandatory to administer the vaccine to citizens saying this might raise other suspicions with the diminishing confidence in the country’s ministry of health following the recent honeybee defective condoms and drugs scandal.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Union of Journalists -ZUJ- has pledged to be the first to access the covid-19 vaccination in an effort to convince other journalists in the country to follow suit to ensure protection against the virus.
ZUJ Vice President Alex Basopo has told phoenix news that social media claims and conspiracy theories surrounding the covid-19 vaccine remain unsubstantiated hence the need for journalists in Zambia to be vaccinated so that they are protected as they execute their duties.
Basopo says the entire ZUJ Executive is available to be the first recipients of the vaccine to set an example for other media practitioners to follow suit and discredit the unfounded theories.
He adds that Journalists face the danger of contracting the virus in their routine assignments on a daily basis and must access the vaccine to ensure no media personnel are lost to the pandemic. And Governance Activist Leslie Chikuse has advised the Anti-Corruption Commission -ACC- to expedite investigations into the US$17 million medical supplies scandal involving Honey Bee Pharmacy now that there is enough evidence on the matter as was revealed by the Public Accounts Committee -PAC- hearing recently.
On Wednesday, ACC Public Relations Manager Timothy moono revealed that the commission has been the investigating the honeybee pharmacy business deal since august last year.
Chikuse has also advised the ACC not to disappoint the general public by again turning themselves into witnesses for the accused should the case be established as was witnessed the last time the former health minister Chitalu Chilufya first appeared in court on corruption allegations.
In an interview with phoenix news, Chikuse wonders why ACC has taken this long to investigate the matter when it did not take long the public accounts committee hearing to establish an alleged case of corruption in the whole deal.
He notes that the fact that the Ministry of Health has also started recalling the medical supplies by HoneyBee Pharmacy should itself act as evidence.