Zambia not running out of vaccines as Ebola worsens in Congo

ZAMBIA – The Zambian government has refuted reports that the country has run out of COVID-19 vaccines.

Firstly, reports of facilities running out of vaccines are unfortunate as we have enough stock,” Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo said in a release.

She said the country currently has over 32,000 doses of vaccines in stock, adding that an additional consignment of vaccines will be arriving in the country over the next few days.

The Zambian minister added that all provincial health centers have been advised to ensure that they implement efficient and effective stock management and reorder vaccines from the central level to avoid artificial shortages.

Zambia has five vaccines currently being administered, including China’s Sinopharm, since the launch of the vaccination program on April 14, 2021.

So far, about 941,396 doses of vaccines have been administered.Zambia’s confirmed cumulative cases currently stand at 209,852 while total deaths stand at 3,662.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring South Africa, the number of COVID-19 fatalities is approaching the 90,000 mark even as the government seeks to ramp up vaccinations.

According to the latest figures published by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, the country recorded 44 new virus-related fatalities, taking the country’s death toll to 89,295.

In the same period, 339 new COVID-19 new infections were registered from a sample size of 30,229 tests conducted in the last 24 hours. This brings the country’s virus-load to 2,923,393.

The country is currently undertaking a vaccination drive in efforts to contain further spread of the virus. So far, some 22,965,123 doses have been administered.

South Africa’s government has introduced incentives to entice more people to turn up for vaccination.

The health ministry announced R100 grocery vouchers for any persons over 60 years old who take their vaccination.

The ministry has also partnered with cab-hailing company, Uber, to cover two trips of up to R100 to persons heading to select vaccination sites across the country.

Looking into the West, eleven cases of Ebola virus disease have so far been confirmed by health officials in the northeastern province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), more than five months after the end of a previous Ebola outbreak in the same province, the World Health Organization (WHO) said late Friday.

As of November 3, 11 Ebola cases have been reported, including six deaths, since the first confirmed case of a two-year-old boy who died on October 6, the WHO’s regional office for Africa said Friday night, adding that 604 people exposed to the virus have been identified.

On Thursday afternoon, the first two patients cured of Ebola virus disease were discharged from the local Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) since the resurgence of the virus was declared by DRC’s health ministry on October 8 in North Kivu province.

According to the chief medical officer of North Kivu’s Beni area, Dr. Michel Tosalisana, the patients are a couple admitted in the ETC soon after the virus reappeared in the region.

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