In 2022, DAPP Zambia, which had earlier run a COVID-19 home based care program, changed its focus to closing the COVID-19 vaccination gaps, more especially among people living with HIV not fully vaccinated.
Through its network of Field Officers and Community Health Workers who are certified counselors, DAPP is pleased to support the Ministry of Health to link people affected by HIV and TB to vaccination stalls and health facilities in Lusaka district. The program is disseminating information materials to dispel myths/misconceptions, working with local leaders to mobilize communities for vaccinations and linking people newly tested positive for HIV for both HIV treatment and for COVID-19 vaccination.
The program is also utilizing peer educators, support groups, teen clubs, peer educators in prisons, associations for differently abled persons who have been trained under DAPPs total control of the HIV epidemic program and engaging them on conversations common discussions why people living with HIV should /be vaccinated.
At end of November, the project had mobilized 12,982 people living with HIV of whom 7,641 were linked and got fully vaccinated from COVID-19.
It has been more than a year since the first Covid-19 vaccines were administered and nearly 11.5 billion doses later, the available evidence suggests that they're effective in reducing COVID-19 to a minimum. As of November 2022, more than 8 million Zambians or 45.8 percent of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated against the virus while 56.6 percent had received a single dose of the vaccination.
In the past few months, life has returned to normal for Zambians after the mandatory wearing of masks and social gatherings were lifted. However, transmission of the virus is still ongoing. There is need to get all eligible people fully vaccinated to circumvent any future resurgence of the pandemic. Of particular importance, is the vaccination of people with underlying conditions including which make them susceptible to catastrophic long term effects and even death, if infected by COVID-19.
Among these groups are those living with HIV, the HIV virus weaken their bodies' immune systems which can make COVID 19 potentially fatal.