SO the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine that Zambia has opted for through the COVAX roll-out will be AstraZeneca, the British-made vaccine that is the most popular of the 13 COVID-19 vaccines on the market right now.
After a long wait, Government finally announced it had opted for the World Health Organisation (WHO) led COVAX roll-out in the first pillar of the programme towards vaccinating Zambia of the new coronavirus that has brought the world to a standstill.
The USA-made Johnson and Johnson vaccine would also be rolled out later.
No two words about it, the coming of the vaccine is good news as it will reduce the numbers of new cases, deaths and would hopefully get the wheels of industry turning at full capacity again.
Through the COVAX roll-out, it has been said, will see Government bring in up to 3 million doses for part of the Zambian the population.
The second and third pillars, which should be able to cover the whole population, will come later through funds sourced externally either from donations from cooperating partners or loans.
Like it has been mentioned here, this is good news and also that the vaccination would be voluntary.
Many people will definitely flock to the health centres to get jabbed with the vaccine but it is also true that there would be a number that will shun the vaccination for a cocktail of reasons ranging from religious beliefs to myths.
And unfortunately, the myths are making the rounds about how bad or dangerous the vaccines are.
Health Minister Jonas Chanda has admitted that there are myths going round and this means Government will need to take a very aggressive campaign to explain to the citizens about the vaccines that are coming.
The coming of social media may have its own bad side but it also has its good side and people have been reading a lot about the vaccines and their performance around the world.
Albert Einstein said the important thing is not to stop questioning and in this case, Government would have to answer so many questions through a sensitisation campaigns about its choice of AstraZeneca and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
Government has said it would painstakingly check for the pros and cons of each vaccine before allowing any on the Zambian market- which is a good thing and the choice taken would need to be explained to the people or we may risk several people shunning the jabs.
For example, the AstraZeneca, popular as it is in Europe and around the world, has its own cons as observed in South Africa, where it is not as effective against the rigid strain of Covid that is in that country.
South Africa has had to abandon the AstraZeneca for the Johnson and Johnson one.