Malawi runs out of coronavirus vaccines due to surge in India coronavirus cases

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Delays in coronavirus vaccine shipments to Malawi have caused health facilities to run out of doses as hundreds are due to receive a second shot, the health minister said on Saturday.

The southern African country has so far received 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United Nations, 102,000 from the African Union and 50,000 donated by India

Inoculations started in April and the country was expecting a second UN shipment of 900,000 by the end of May, four weeks before the first vaccinated Malawians would be due a second dose.

But Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo said that batch had been delayed by a recent surge in coronavirus cases in India, the world’s main AstraZeneca supplier, which forced the country to temporarily halt major vaccine exports to meet local demand.

“The situation in India has delayed the supply,” Kandodo told AFP on Saturday, adding that the vaccines would only arrive in July or August.

Hundreds of people seeking to get vaccinated were turned away from Malawi’s main Kamuzu Central Hospital in the capital Lilongwe this week.

“The hospital has told us that there is nothing they can do because they simply do not have vaccines,” taxi driver Geoffrey Ngwale told AFP on Friday, distraught by the inability to receive a second dose on time.

 

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