Zimbabwe: Govt Re-Strategises On Vaccines Distribution

A Zimbabwean receives a Covid-19 vaccine jab at Wilkins Hospital.

Government will redistribute Covid-19 vaccines from areas with lower demand to those where uptake has been high to ensure that no shortages of the doses are encountered.

This comes as there have been concerns that the country might be running out of the Covid-19 vaccines as some centres have not been administering the first dose but prioritising those coming for their second dose.

This has resulted in widespread anxiety that even those in need of their second dose might not get it.

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro yesterday said this would not happen as the country still had more than 400 000 doses in stock out of the 1,7 million Covid-19 vaccines received since the programme started. This was enough to cover all those in need of the second dose and some coming for their first jab.

"It looks as if there is a shortage of vaccines because some areas have higher uptake than others. Remember that when the vaccines came, all districts received them but the areas with lower uptake still have vaccines so it is an issue of redistributing the available vaccines. Like in Bulawayo, we sent 5 400 vaccines this week after the vaccines were depleted," he said.

"If someone goes to the centre nearest to them they might find that there is no vaccine readily available but other centres will have it."

Since the beginning of the national vaccination programme in February, 675 678 people have received their first dose while 344 400 have been fully vaccinated. The country is targeting to vaccinate 10 million people, which is 60 percent of the total population, to reach herd immunity.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development earlier this year set aside US$10 million to purchase Covid 19 vaccines and so far, 1,2 million Sinovac vaccines have been purchased from China. In addition to this, Government has also received 400 000 Sinopharm vaccines from the Chinese Government and an additional 35 000 from the Government of India while the Zimbabwe Defence Forces recently received a donation of 100 000 Sinopharm doses from the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Zimbabwe will this month take delivery of another batch of 500 000 Sinopharm vaccines purchased from China to boost the supply of vaccines.

Government approved the use of four vaccines in the country; the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines as well as the Covaxin from India and Sputnik V from Russia.

So far, the Chinese vaccines have dominated the vaccination programme with the majority of the doses administered being Chinese.

Although the Chinese vaccines initially raised concerns globally, recent studies have proved them to be more effective than others in controlling the new variants of the Covid 19 disease.

In Indonesia, over 90 percent of the 79,9 million vaccines procured were from Sinovac. The vaccine has also received good reviews in Brazil where a study showed that it can control Covid-19 outbreaks more effectively than expected from initial clinical testing.

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