Zimbabwe: Low Vaccine Uptake Worrying'

Ghana kicks off Covid-19 vaccination campaign with vaccines from COVAX (file photo).
11 March 2021

The low uptake of the Sinopharm vaccine by frontline workers during the first rollout phase is worrying health professionals in the country, 263Chat has learnt.

Zimbabwe is currently vaccinating essential service workers who are exposed to the virus but out of the 100 000 thousand available jabs, only, 35 901 front line workers have been vaccinated in three weeks since the vaccination process was launched.

The government said it is targeting 10 million people to get vaccinated and achieve head immunity.

However, a lot of conspiracy theories and false information have made people sceptical about taking the vaccine with some alleging that they will have deformities upon being innoculated.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) Treasurer-General Dr Norman Matara, raised concerns over the slow uptake of the vaccine, questioning why it is the case in XZimabbwe when other African countries are doing relatively well.

"243 new vaccinations reported yesterday (Tuesday). That's an average of 24 people being vaccinated per day per each province.

"35,000 vaccinated in 3 (three) weeks. The uptake is extremely low and worrying. Rwanda has vaccinated 200,000 people in four days. Where are we getting it wrong?" Matara questioned.

To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 36 341 confirmed cases, including 33 953 recoveries and 1 489 deaths but most people remain in the dark on who should take the vaccine.

Matara cleared the air saying those that have not acquired the disease can get the jabs.

"That we had fewer cases compared to other countries should be a reason for vaccination not against," Matara said.

"With limited access to vaccine supply, it would be unwise to give the vaccines to low-risk individuals and not vaccinate those at more risk. I think we still need to devise ways to increase uptake amongst the vulnerable," he added.

Matara further stated that studies show mistrust between the government and the people on the Chinese made vaccine.

"A study by the Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians (ZCPHP) found that 49 percent of people "don't trust the government will provide a safe and effective vaccine," Matara explained.

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