Malawian Catholic Church Leader Encourages COVID-19 Vaccination amid Low Turnout

Image of a COVID-19 Vaccine/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

A Malawian Catholic Church leader has sought to encourage his compatriots to receive the COVID-19 vaccine amid reported low turnout in the vaccination centers.

“I would like to encourage all of you to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Medical practitioners have advised us that albeit seeing few side effects and some few quite bad, still, it is worth taking it,” the Diocesan Administrator of Malawi’s Lilongwe Archdiocese, Msgr. Patrick Thawale, says in his Thursday, April 29 statement. 

The Southern African nation has reportedly recorded a low turnout of COVID-19 in vaccination centres, a phenomenon that has resulted in the destruction of 16,000 expired doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines that had been donated by the African Union. 

According to AFP News, contagious reluctance and misinformation is the reason for the reported low turnout. 

In his April 29 statement, Msgr. Thawale explains that the vaccines “produce protection against the disease, as a result of developing an immune response to the SARS-Cov-2 virus.”


“Developing immunity through vaccination means that there is a reduced risk of developing the illness and its consequences. This immunity helps one fight the virus if exposed,” says the Malawian Cleric who has been at the helm of Lilongwe Archdiocese since December last year following the death of Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye.

Msgr. Thawale describes getting vaccinated as an act of charity saying, “As believers who believe in living our faith, getting vaccinated is as well an issue of charity for it also protects people around you.”

“If one is protected from getting infected and from the disease, one is less likely to infect others,” he says in his April 29 statement obtained by ACI Africa.

In March, Catholic Bishops in Malawi endorsed the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

“We strongly believe that receiving the available COVID-19 vaccine must be understood as an act of charity towards other community members and considered as an act of love of our neighbour and part of our moral responsibility for the common good,” members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) said in their March 11 collective statement. 

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They added, “Together with other means to stop or even prevent the COVID-19 pandemic, the common good calls for vaccination, primarily to protect the weakest and most vulnerable.”

Malawi has recorded 34,062 cases of the coronavirus including 1,148 deaths and 32,023 recoveries.

In his April 29 statement, the Diocesan Administrator of Lilongwe also calls on the people of God in the Southern African nation to pray as well as adhere to COVID-19 safety measures issued by relevant authorities. 

He says, “Always follow guidance from local authorities based on the situation and risk where you live.”

“As we continue fighting hard in order to win this battle, let us Continue to pray unceasingly, maintain at least a 1-metre distance from others, cough or sneeze in your elbow, clean your hands frequently, and wear a mask particularly in enclosed, crowded or poorly ventilated places,” Msgr. Thawale advices in his April 29 statement. 


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.