LUSAKA, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Zambia has received more oral vaccines to stem the cholera outbreak, which has continued to surge, a senior government official said on Monday.
Zambian Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo said the ministry has received the remaining vaccines from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, through the United Nations, bringing the total vaccines to 1.7 million doses.
She said in a statement on the cholera situation that plans are underway to procure additional vaccines from alternative sources to be administered to people in cholera-prone areas.
The minister, however, expressed concern that some sections of society are refusing to take the vaccine, adding that this is unfortunate as vaccines are meant to secure the lives of people.
Zambia commenced the administration of the vaccine in five cholera hotspots in the capital of Lusaka last week after receiving 1.4 million doses.
According to the minister, about 1.2 million people have received the vaccine so far, representing 69 percent coverage.
Meanwhile, the minister said the government is concerned about the number of people dying in communities due to presenting themselves late at health facilities.
"We encourage our people to visit their nearest health post or community health worker as a point to access oral rehydration therapy as they make their way to the centers," she said.
Zambia has been battling a cholera outbreak since last October, with 12,719 cases and 498 deaths recorded since then.
A total of 11,399 people have been discharged, according to the Ministry of Health. ■