Harare, (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday Zimbabwe was ready for a Covid-19 vaccine rollout, which will be administered free of charge with health workers being the top priority.
In an address to the nation, he said a national vaccine framework, targeting 60 percent of the population at the initial stage, had been finalised.
“Covid-19 vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe will soon be introduced. These will be state funded and free,” he said.
“A national vaccine deployment framework has been finalised. The initial objective is to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve population immunity.”
Funds, he said, had been put aside to acquire adequate vaccines on top of those that the country will access through the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as a donation of 200 000 doses of the Chinese vaccine.
He did not however specify which specific vaccine the country would be using from the available choices.
“We applaud China for taking a leading role in contributing to our national vaccine deployment strategy and for its consistent human policy of keeping Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods,” President Mnangagwa said.
Frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions will get top priority, he said.
Even as the population gets inoculated, the vaccines did not offer 100 percent protection, President Mnangagwa said, urging the nation to continue observing WHO protocols such as masking and social distancing.
President Mnangagwa said the country had largely survived the first wave of the virus through unity of purpose which resulted in low infections and deaths, but this had not been the case with the second wave.
To date the country has recorded 33 964 confirmed cases and 1 269 deaths, with the national recovery rate standing at 80.6 percent as of February 3.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe will emerge stronger, despite all the challenges it has faced from economic to droughts, cyclones and now, Covid-19.
Government remained optimistic about prospects for economic growth this year on the back of a stable economic environment and exchange rate and good rains the country had received which will boost agriculture production.