Teachers can now be vaccinated – Govt
Harare, (New Ziana) – With less than a week to go before the re-opening of schools, government on Tuesday said teachers can now be vaccinated for Covid-19.
Teachers, lecturers and other educationists were listed for vaccination under Phase 2 after priority was initially given to front-line workers when vaccination was launched two weeks ago.
Over 35 700 front-line workers have so far been inoculated, with government indicating there was extra-capacity for those in the education sector to be vaccinated.
Schools are opening for the first term of the year on March 15, starting with examination classes.
“In view of extra vaccination capacity, Cabinet has resolved that those in Phase 2 of the National Vaccination Plan can start getting their vaccines,” Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa told a post Cabinet media briefing.
At the same time, Mutsvangwa said drugs, regulator, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe has to date approved four Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use in the country.
The four are Sinopharm and Sinovac from China, India’s Covaxin and Sputnik-V from Russia.
Zimbabwe three weeks ago received its first batch of 200 000 Sinopharm vaccine doses and is expecting 200 000 more of the same, 75 000 of Covaxin and 25 000 of Sputnik V this month.
Mutsvangwa said government has allowed private companies wishing to buy vaccines for their employees to choose from the approved list.
But importation will be done under a centralized scheme managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
“Organisations interested in procuring COVID-19 vaccines for their workforce will deposit their funds into the National Vaccine Procurement Fund after approval by the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” she said.
“The National Vaccine Procurement Fund will procure on behalf of the organizations guided by the national procurement guidelines.”
Zimbabwe has since March last year recorded over 36 000 cases of infections and 1 489 deaths.
The country recently lifted strict Level Four restrictions which had been imposed for the past two months, re-opening its economy following the beginning of the vaccination programme.
But Mutsvangwa said government was unhappy with huge numbers of people “milling around the Central Business Districts and other public places, often without regard to masking and social distancing.”
“The law enforcement agencies are in full force to enforce the WHO (World Health Organisation) protocols and national guidelines which remain mandatory,” she said.
She said government will consider re-opening of other public places that attract large numbers of people after assessing the impact of the relation of lockdown measures.