Maputo — Between 8 and 13 March, a total of 46,439 health professionals in Mozambique had been vaccinated against the Covid-19 respiratory disease, according to the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe.

The target is to vaccinate 61,017 health workers. By the end of Saturday, 76 per cent of this target had been reached. All have received the first dose of the Vero cell vaccine, produced by the Chinese company, Sinopharm. After 21 days, they should receive the second dose.

Addressing a Maputo press conference on Monday, Matsinhe said that 976 health workers are involved in the vaccination drive. They are distributed into 244 teams based at 227 fixed vaccination posts.

The province with the best result so far is Tete, which has vaccinated 93 per cent of its health professionals, followed by Sofala which has reached 83 per cent.

This first phase of the vaccination did not end on schedule, and so has been extended to next Wednesday.

“Our plan was to vaccinate all health workers within a week”, said Matsinhe. “But last weekend we saw there was still a lot more work to do, and so we are continuing until Wednesday. Then we shall have a short rest, and re-organise to vaccinate the next group”.

Giving the Health Ministry’s daily briefing on the pandemic, Matsinhe said that on Monday a further four deaths from Covid-19 were reported, and 126 new cases. The latest victims were three men and a woman, all of Mozambican nationality, aged between 64 and 95. Three of them died in Maputo city and one in Maputo province. This brings the total death toll from Covid-19 in Mozambique to 729.

Since the start of the pandemic, 454,528 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 843 of them in the previous 24 hours. Of the samples tested, 403 were from Maputo city, 124 from Gaza, 98 from Sofala, 56 from Cabo Delgado, 45 from Tete, 44 from Nampula, 42 from Inhambane, 16 from Niassa, 13 from Maputo province, and two from Zambezia. No tests were reported from Manica.

717 of the tests gave negative results and 126 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the total number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique to 64,642.

The Monday positivity rate (the proportion of people tested who are found to be carrying the virus) was 14.9 per cent. This compares with rates of 14.7 per cent on Sunday, 14.8 per cent on Saturday, 15.8 per cent on Friday, 18.6 per cent on Thursday and 17 per cent on Wednesday. The past week has seen no positivity rates of 20 or more per cent.