The Scientific Council of Public Health Emergencies has requested that the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine be suspended according to the principle of precaution and prudence.
This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary of the Expanded Programme on Immunization, Dr Shalom Ndoula, on Thursday, March 18 during a consultation meeting between the Ministry of Public Health and various stakeholders to assess the National COVID-19 Response Plan.
The delivery of the vaccines was previously scheduled for March 20 but the council has proposed its suspension, reiterating that the vaccination plan for the time being does not foresee mass vaccination but targeted vaccination which is voluntary and not compulsory.
The proposals were made during the first audience between the Minister of Public Health, Dr Malachie Manaouda and Members of Professional Orders as well as Learned Societies as they went through the epidemiological situation in the country.
As presented by the Incident Manager, Dr Etoundi Mballa, the epidemiological situation between February 24 and March 3 shows the country has recorded 3284 new cases with 35 deaths. The Centre, Littoral and West Regions are the most affected while contaminations have been recorded in the East and South Regions, he added.
Discussions also focused on the epidemic control, the circulation of variant strains, while several proposals were made such as the increase of screening centres, the reactivation of the occupational health and hygiene committees, establishment of a platform to promote research on COVID-19 and many others.
The second meeting then held between promoters and actors of traditional medicine and the Ministry of Public Health, who underlined the in attenuating and reducing the percentage of patients with severe forms. The control of the pandemic in its first phase was as a result of the blend of efforts from conventional medicine and traditional medicine, Dr Malachie Manaouda added.
He hoped that the synergy initiated can continue to prosper as the promoters and actors of traditional medicine made several proposals like systematic referral of COVID-19 emergencies in health facilities by actors of traditional medicine.
They also requested government’s support in carrying out clinical trials as well as a greater involvement of promoters of traditional medicine in raising awareness of compliance of health safety measures.
In total, the Minister of Public Health reassured that although the prevailing situation is worrying, it is not so alarming and called on collective efforts from the various actors to keep the situation under check.