Zim begins Covid-19 vaccination next week
Harare, (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is from next week targeting to inoculate up to 800 000 people in the first round of vaccination against Covid-19 when the country receives the first batch of doses of the Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm on February 15, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.
The country is targeting to initially vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.
The Chinese government donated 200 000 doses of the vaccine to Zimbabwe, while government bought an additional 600 000 doses, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangiwro said.
The vaccine is said to have an efficacy ranging from 76 percent to 86 percent.
Zimbabwe has to date recorded 34 949 infection cases and 1 382 deaths, with the national recovery rate standing at 84.8 percent.
Government has said the vaccination will be free and voluntary.
“Stage one of the vaccination programme will target frontline workers at significantly high risk of Covid-19. These include health workers, ports of entry personnel, including those working for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, immigration and customs, funeral parlour workers, security personnel and village health workers,” Dr Mangwiro said, announcing the country’s vaccination programme.
Stage two, under Phase One of the initiative targets those with chronic illnesses, the elderly from 60 years and above, prison inmates and those in refugee camps.
Phase two of the programme targets workers at all learning institutions while the last phase includes everyone else.
Dr Mangwiro encouraged everyone to take up the vaccine when their turn comes despite discouragement by some religious leaders who are against the vaccination.
He stressed that even after vaccination people will still be required to follow laid down World Health Organisation Covid-19 preventative measures such as proper wearing of face masks, social distancing and sanitising.
Government has set aside over US$100 million to procure a vaccine which will be recommended by the country’s scientists while a separate initiative is underway to mobilise more funding from well wishers.
Talks with Russia were at an advanced stage to acquire the Russian vaccine known as Sputnik, he said.
“The country is also pursuing global and regional facilities to procure more vaccines to cover all eligible people,” he said.
Dr Mangwiro said health workers who will be involved in the vaccination programme were undergoing training.