As winter approaches, Zambia’s Health Minister Sylvia Masebo has urged citizens to get Covid-19 vaccinations “as soon as possible,” amid an influenza outbreak at the University of Zambia in Lusaka.
“The Lusaka District Health Office was informed of an increase in persons presenting with flu-like symptoms around the University of Zambia – Great East Road campus,” the minister said on April 27.
“Our disease intelligence team, led by the Zambia National Public Health Institute, probed the increase in flu-like illness during the Coromavirus outbreak,” she explained.
“A total of 40 samples were collected and tested at the University Teaching Hospital’s National Virology Laboratory” (UTH). The investigation showed that all but one had been infected with H3N2. This translates to a positive response rate of 97.5 percent among those polled. “There were no patients who tested positive for Covid-19.”
Influenza is a frequently diagnosed respiratory disease that affects people worldwide as cold flu with similar symptoms as Covid-19. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, and chest congestion. Some people could experience nausea or vomiting, but this is more prevalent in children than adults.
According to Masebo, Covid-19 is still a major health concern in the country, with a noticeable increase in cases. The Covid-19 pandemic, she claims, is far from over. We registered 93 fresh cases out of 2 067 tests. Eight new cases have been admitted to hospitals.
“On a more sombre note, 4 new Covid-19-related deaths have occurred, all of which were unvaccinated.” “We strongly advise all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” the minister continued.
According to WHO data, as of Wednesday, 2 440 606 people, or 13.2 percent of the Zambian population, had received full vaccinations. 33 684 people, or 0.2 percent of the population, received booster shots. In order to meet the 70 percent vaccination target, the Ministry of Health was forced to conduct a door-to-door vaccination drive due to low uptake.
Paul Zulu, an infectious disease specialist at Zambia’s National Public Health Institute, told journalists during a virtual meeting that the country could enter its fifth wave of Covid-19 in May, June, and July. Despite vaccine scepticism, Minister Masebo stated that child vaccinations were successful.
“We are also happy to report that the number of children [aged 12 to 17 years old] who have received their first dose of vaccine continues to rise. We have over 260 000 receiving their first dose, and 39 979 fully vaccinated.”
“As summer vacation concludes, we urge all parents to ensure that their eligible children are vaccinated before returning to school for the next term,” she added. Zambians can choose from five vaccines. BioNTech’s Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford–AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm are among them.
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