• Data from the ministry shows that 30,351 doses have been administered to those between 15 and 18 years.
•The proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated is 17.5 per cent.
The Health ministry will starting end of this month conduct Covid-19 vaccination drives in schools and institutions of higher learning to boost uptake.
The ministry in November last year opened up issuance of Pfizer vaccine to teenagers aged 15 to 18 years. This was after data reviewed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board found it safe to be used among children aged 12 years and above.
Vaccines deployment taskforce chairman Willis Akhwale on Friday said the uptake among teenagers has been low.
Data from the ministry shows that 30,351 doses have been administered to teenagers between 15 and 18 years.
“We started it when schools were closing, so the uptake has been slow, but we are hoping to work with higher institutions and start drives in schools most likely later this month or early February,” Akhwale said.
Even though children are at a lower risk of becoming severely ill with Covid-19 compared to adults, vaccinating them helps protect the whole family and slows the spread of the virus in the community.
To date, 11.09 million vaccines have been administered across the country. Of this number, 6.7 million people have been partially vaccinated, 4.7 fully vaccinated and 90,334 doses have been given as booster shots.
The proportion of the adult population fully vaccinated is 17.5 per cent.
The World Health Organisation has added two new drugs for the treatment of Covid-19.
The first drug, Baricitinib, is recommended for use together with steroids. It is recommended for patients with severe or critical Covid-19.
It is an oral drug used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The global health agency also recommended the use of Sotrovimab to treat mild or moderate Covid-19 in patients at high risk of hospitalisation.
“This includes patients who are older, immunocompromised, having underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, and those unvaccinated,” WHO said in a statement on Sunday.
“The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be,” WHO added.
The panel of experts developing the guidelines also looked at two other drugs for severe and critical Covid-19, Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib. They made a conditional recommendation against their use given their uncertain effects.
Ruxolitinib is a drug used to treat myelofibrosis, a cancer of the bone marrow, while Tofacitinib is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Edited by A.N