Older men and women are disproportionately vulnerable when disasters strike and the same is true for COVID-19 Pandemic. Despite the fact that the pandemic spreads among persons of all ages and conditions, available evidence indicates that older persons and those with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of serious illness and death from the COVID-19 disease. This has been acknowledged by authentic institutions including the World Health Organization and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. There is strong evidence, however, that getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Despite provisions in International Instruments declaring the entitlement of older people to enjoy full range of rights, including right to health, older people continue to suffer exclusion and to face multiple challenges in accessing services. In general, older persons in Malawi and other low-income countries often have differentiated access to services, exposure to knowledge and information, resources and access to mobility.
As of September 2022, only 11.8 percent of the Malawi population was fully vaccinated. Several studies on perceptions around COVID-19 vaccine identified local attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine as an important factor to meet vaccination benchmarks. From this, accurate information as well as accessibility come out as key factors for uptake of COVID-19 Vaccines among older people.
We are therefore carrying out a targeted campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination among older people. The campaign combines provision of accurate information as well as an opportunity for vaccination to the older people.
On 28 March 2023, we were in Balaka, Namalolo grounds creating demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in the area. About 100 people were vaccinated on sight and door to door vaccination will continue in the area.