By Taka Shambare
Victoria Falls (New Ziana) –Zimbabwe has vaccinated over 40 percent of its eligible population against Covid-19 and also boasts a number of towns and cities that have achieved herd immunity, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
Zimbabwe’s widely commended vaccination programme kicked off in February 2021 utilising Chinese, Russian, and Indian-made vaccines.
On Tuesday this week, Zimbabwe announced the extension of Covid-19 vaccination to children aged between 12 and 15 years in line with medical advice.
Zimbabwe was already vaccinating children aged between 14 and 17 years.
Addressing the 3rd Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission, President Mnangagwa trumpeted Zimbabwe’s milestones in the fight against Covid-19.
“Our robust vaccination drive has seen us vaccinating over 40 percent of the eligible population nationwide, with a number of towns and cities, including the City of Victoria Falls, achieving herd immunity,” he said.
Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate at least 10 million people representing 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.
The Southern African County was listed among the 15 African countries that have achieved the World Health Organisation set target to fully vaccinate 10 percent of their populations by September last year.
But, President Mnangagwa said there was an urgent need for Africa to increase its internal capacities to deal with challenges such as inequitable distribution of vaccines.
“Vaccine nationalism with regards to both vaccine production and distribution has, thus, not only adversely affected the health of our nations and economies but ultimately compromised the ability of our countries to achieve SDG 3 towards ensuring access to health and Universal Health Coverage, that leaves no one and no place behind,” he said.
“Against this background, Zimbabwe stands ready, therefore, to cooperate with Botswana as well as with other regional and continental efforts as we establish sustainable health and medical solutions for our people.”
President Mnangagwa said cooperation through instruments such as the Memorandum of Understanding on Health Matters signed between Harare and Gaborone at the 2nd Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission held in Maun, in 2020, had strengthened collaboration between health institutions in both countries.
“In the spirit of ubuntu and our strong fraternal relations, the Government and people of Zimbabwe are pleased to donate 50 000 Sinopharm vaccine doses as well as medical oxygen to the Government and people of Botswana. Please accept, Your Excellency, this humble gesture as our show of support and solidarity in this collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”