Remarks by USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras Marking the Arrival of The 2nd Installment of COVID-19 Johnson and Johnson Vaccines Through COVAX

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, July 28, 2021
USAID/Zambia Mission Director delivers remarks during the COVAX J&J vaccine arrival event.
USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras delivers remarks during the arrival of the 2nd tranche of 151,000 J&J vaccines to Zambia through COVAX.
Andrew Simumba / U.S.Embassy Zambia

Good afternoon. On behalf of United States Embassy Chargé d'Affaires David Young, the U.S. Mission here in Zambia, our cooperating partners, and most importantly the American people, it is an honor to be here as we receive these life-saving vaccines. 

On behalf of the Biden Administration, I also want to express our gratitude to all the health care professionals and front line workers, who have worked tirelessly, often at great sacrifice, in the fight against COVID-19.

Last week, we were gathered here for the arrival of the first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson COVAX-supported vaccines.  Today, with this second shipment, the United States government has now supplied over 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine directly to Zambia. 

This is part of the United States’ commitment to share the U.S. vaccine supply with the world.  In the words of President Biden, “ the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home”.  That is why the United States has pledged $4 billion to COVAX to accelerate equitable global access to vaccines.  

Today’s vaccine donation would not be possible without the leadership of the Ministry of Health and our dedicated COVAX partners including the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, African Union, Africa CDC, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.  

We also know that providing vaccines alone is not sufficient to fight COVID-19.  In addition to vaccines, the United States Government has provided more than $28 million to fight COVID-19 in Zambia. This assistance, provided under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, includes supporting oxygen and essential medicines, hiring additional doctors and nurses to treat critically ill patients, and working with communities to emphasize how to protect themselves.  

Or as we all like to say - knowing and practicing - The FIVE GOLDEN Rules. 

If we have learned one thing since March 2020, when Zambia confirmed its first case of COVID-19 - it is this:  Getting vaccinated saves lives. 

To date nearly 276,000 Zambians have received COVAX vaccines.  With this new shipment, we are excited that more people will be able to “roll up their sleeves” and get vaccinated.  

However, it is worth highlighting that of the people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Zambia only about 40 percent are women, even though we know that women make up more than 50 percent of the vaccine eligible population.  We also know that globally, pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID-19. 

We commend the Ministry of Health for its steps to ensure more women get vaccinated by releasing new guidelines this month that clearly recommend vaccination for expectant and breastfeeding mothers.

These vaccines can help protect and save the lives of both the mother and their child, and we encourage healthcare workers to know and share these revised vaccination guidelines. 

As a mother and a daughter, I want to take this opportunity to encourage all women over the age of 18 to get vaccinated - to protect yourselves and your families. And, of course, when you go to get vaccinated, please encourage the men in your family who are 18 years of age and older to do the same. 

Getting vaccinated will allow us to save lives, rebuild our economies, and get our children back in school.  In short, it will allow all of us to move forward together and make a stronger Zambia.  So please make the time to roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated. 

Thank you.

Lusaka, Zambia
Issuing Country 

Last updated: July 29, 2021

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