Zimbabwe: Vaccination Drive Charms WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is impressed by Zimbabwe's transmission and prevention measures in containing Covid-19 pandemic noting that Harare had managed to keep low level of infections and mortality rate.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said the global health body was encouraged by Zimbabwe's Covid-19 vaccination roll-out programme initiated two-and-a-half months ago.

He implored the country's health authorities to further accelerate the programme to reach many people in a shortest possible time.

Dr Ghebreyesus made the comments on Wednesday during a meeting with Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva Mr Stuart Comberbach.

"You are doing very well," he said.

Ambassador Comberbach was accompanied to the meeting by Counsellor at Zimbabwe's Mission to the UN, responsible for the health portfolio, Ms Vimbai Chikomba.

The WHO chief said preventing transmission of the virus was critically important, especially in countries where health systems were fragile and carrying-capacity, particularly for the Intensive Care Units, was low.

He noted that the fragile health systems were pronounced in most developing countries.

Dr Ghebreyesus highlighted the advantages of a diverse vaccine portfolio and confirmed that WHO had recently issued emergency-use approval for both the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, manufactured in China.

Zimbabwe has rolled out both Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines and no side effects have been reported to date.

He also expressed hope that as the pandemic situation affecting India was being increasingly brought under control, the Serum Institute of India (SII) would be able to resume the exportation of vaccines by end of September this year.

Zimbabwe has surged ahead of all mainland SADC countries in terms of procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccines with the top-rated national vaccination programme in the region.

Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate 10 million people to attain herd immunity.

The country is set to take delivery of another 500 000 Sinopharm vaccines from China to boost the national Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Treasury set aside US$100 million to purchase Covid-19 vaccines in response to the deadly pandemic and so far, 1,2 million Sinovac vaccines have already been procured from China.

To complement this, the 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 Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

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