The implementation of the first phase of the National Vaccination Plan (PNV), in Mozambique, started on the 8th March, prioritizing health professionals who are on the front line, as well as the elderly, considered to be at risk group.
The act, which lasted only a week, had its first phase concluded on 12 March, that is, five days after its beginning. In a process marked by queues, some long and some short, thousands of health professionals were vaccinated.
The Observatório Cidadão para Saúde (OCS), however, regrets the fact that the Ministry of Health (MISAU) did not share, on a daily basis, the data of individuals who were vaccinated, both health professionals and the elderly.
The OCS understands that like in the case of daily publications of new cases of contaminated and recovered people, MISAU should publish the number of vaccinees.
The publication of the data in question would keep Mozambicans informed about all stages of the vaccination process and, in some way, make the calendar and the vaccination process more transparent.
The National Vaccination Plan provides for the monitoring of Vaccine and Drug Safety surveillance, as well as the implementation of vaccine safety surveillance measures for early detention.
On the other hand, the document makes an allusion to research, analysis (AEFI), as well as adverse events of special interest (EAIE).
Other points raised in the document are:
- adequate and rapid responses in the case of EAPV and adverse events of special interest (EAIE);
- availability of data to characterise the safety profile of the vaccines against COVID-19 in use and maintain public confidence, with monitoring in relation to the acceptable risk or benefit of the vaccine against Covid-19.
- observation of the validation of safety signs and appropriate public health actions and other interventions.
Notwithstanding the points above, the MISAU document does not present specific and expected dates for the availability of information related to the vaccination. Therefore, the OCS understands that it is necessary to make available any and all information related to this process, as a way of raising the awareness of Mozambicans on the need to let themselves be vaccinated against Covid-19, in case of availability of more vaccines.
If, on the one hand, it is necessary to provide daily or regular information on the vaccination process, on the other hand, vaccination against Covid-19 should not slow down the efforts of health professionals and health units in the fight against other diseases.
It is necessary that as of now and in future, a conscious vaccination plan be created, without affecting other professional sectors, as well as the rest of the health units’ work.
The OCS received with concern the information that some professionals refused to take the vaccine, which may not be beneficial for the credibility of the process with the population.
MISAU should not force professionals to take the vaccine, but it should be informed about the nuances that exist within the process, at a time when there is controversy about the negative effects of the AstraZenica vaccine on some people.
It is also important that in such cases, in which health professionals refuse to vaccinate, the MoH appears to explain the reasons for the refusal, as a way of ensuring that other citizens are not afraid to get the vaccine.
The launch of the campaign marked the start of the First Phase of Vaccination Against Covid-19, in the country, administered by intramuscular injection, in the upper arm, with the first dose administered from 8 to 12 March, and the Second will be from 29 March 29 to 2 April. Both doses will be administered in all Central, Provincial, General, and District hospitals, as well as in mobile brigades, in a 21 day interval.
In this first phase, in all, according to the Ministry of Health’s estimate, 59,161 professionals from the National Health System, under special and general regimen should be covered.
MISAU also started vaccinating the elderly who are in shelters and nursing homes, and in the coming days some mobile brigades, constituted for this purpose, will proceed with the vaccination in their respective homes.
The employees of the morgues and gravediggers in the municipal cemeteries, which are also included in the National Vaccination Plan Against Covid-19, are benefiting from vaccination at this stage, according to daily observations at HCM.
In subsequent phases, and as soon as more vaccines are available, other citizens will be covered, until the entire eligible population is reached, which totals 16,805,399 citizens, under the terms detailed in the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19 in Mozambique.
Mozambique, it must be remembered, received from China, in the second half of February, a donation of 200,000 doses of Inactivated VeroCell Vaccine (SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine). On this, the Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, clarified that this amount is sufficient to immunise all health professionals, and it may be possible to include part of other groups considered to be a priority.
The Vaccine, VeroCell (SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine) Inactivated, according to studies, has an efficacy of 79.3% against symptomatic disease and 100% against moderate and severe forms of the disease.
On 8 March, another batch of 384,000 doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 arrived in Mozambique, as part of the first wave of vaccines supplied to African countries, through the global vaccine initiative – COVAX.
The delivery of a total of 2,064,000 doses of the COVAX vaccine, which Mozambique will receive in the coming months, is part of a tranche of Astra-Zeneca/Oxford vaccines, produced by the laboratory of the India Serum Institute.