Barely a week after Malawi resumed its COVID-19 vaccination drive, district and urban hospitals have run out of doses, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The government resumed its vaccination program on July 26 after the arrival of 192,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the WHO-led COVAX facility.

Since then, Malawians nationwide had been queuing in their thousands to get vaccinated amid a spike in cases. But most vaccination centers are now shut due to shortages.

“Out of the 192,000 doses, 164,454 have been administered so far,” Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda told a news conference in the capital Lilongwe.

Chiponda, who is also co-chairperson of the presidential task force on COVID-19, said Malawi expects over 302,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. “Once the vaccines arrive, they will be made available for inoculation,” she said.

The East African country of 18 million began the vaccination campaign in March, but ran out of doses in June, just weeks after the government burned 20,000 expired doses.

Some countries are wholly reliant on COVAX, and the distribution of vaccines has been hampered by manufacturing delays and supply disruptions.

So far, nearly 455,000 people in Malawi have received their first dose, while over 139,000 are fully vaccinated. The country has cumulatively registered 52,631 cases and 1,661 related deaths.

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