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'Cautious' Madagascar in no hurry to roll out coronavirus vaccination

President Rajoelina has been staunch advocate of unproven local remedy COVID-Organics President Rajoelina has been staunch advocate of unproven local remedy COVID-Organics

Madagascar is in no hurry to deploy coronavirus vaccines, health minister Jean Louis Rakotovao disclosed on national television earlier this week.

Accordig to him, the southern African nation will “wait and see” how the Covid-19 AstraZeneca jab vaccination roll-out fares elsewhere before procuring any itself.

“Several countries have decided to suspend the use of vaccines because of the side effects,” Rakotovao said on Tuesday.

“It would be too hasty to make a decision now. The risks and benefits should be assessed first," he added.

The African Union's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tasked African countries to continue will roll out of the AstraZeneca jabs after concerns were raised over blood clots by some European countries.

DR Congo despite receiving jabs postponed deployment citing the concerns. The European regulator has since okayed the jab and countries that suspended its use have moved to restart vaccinations.

Unlike most countries across the continent, Madagascar has chosen not to join the Covax vaccine sharing, despite being listed as eligible by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tanzania and Burundi are the other outsiders at a time most countries have started vaccination of frontline health workers and vulnerable populations.

Covid-Organics, a locally made herbal tonic marketed by the government as a prevention and remedy for the virus continues to be distributed across the country despite there being no clinical proof of efficacy.

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