Zimbabwe: 1m More Doses Expected Today

A Zimbabwean receives a Covid-19 vaccine jab at Wilkins Hospital - Zimbabwe’s main vaccination centre in Harare (file photo).
14 September 2021

Another one million Covid-19 Sinovac doses are expected to arrive today taking Zimbabwe's total deliveries to over 11 million doses, as the country goes overdrive to protect its people from the pandemic.

Another 1,5 million Sinopharm doses arrived over the weekend.

This will be enough to cater for half of the population needed to be vaccinated for the country to attain the initial target of 10 million people with both jabs, although that number may have to rise.

With so many doses now in stock, the country now needs to accelerate the actual number of people coming forward to ensure that targets to reach 10 million people are achieved by year end.

Zimbabwe has one of the most impressive vaccine rollout plans in Southern Africa and ranks seventh in Africa after Morocco and Tunisia among the major states and the four very small island nations of Seychelles, Mauritius, Cape Verde and Comoros.

The vaccine roll-out began in earnest on February 22 targeting health workers and other frontline staff. It has now been opened to all Zimbabweans and plans are underway to start vaccinating teenagers in the 14-17 age group.

By September 12, a total of 2 845 148 Zimbabweans had received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose while 1 863 136 had been fully vaccinated. This translates to about 12,33 percent of the total population that has received both doses.

However, there has been a marked decline in the demand over the last three weeks with the last two weeks running at about 55 percent of the record week, the third week in August.

And the introduction of the 14-17-year-old age group in the programme is expected to help to push the numbers towards achieving targets.

Last week, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro said once phase three clinical trials are completed, rollout of vaccines to teenagers will commence.

Dr Mangwiro implored parents to take their children for vaccination once their chance comes.

"President Mnangagwa said we must all go and get vaccinated. The disease might have slowed, but other countries are already experiencing a fourth wave and as the waves go on, they become more severe and brutal. The only solution that is scientifically proven now is vaccination, let us all go out in numbers and get vaccinated. The vaccines are there and they are free," he said.

Teenagers in the 14-17 age groups have expressed their willingness to get vaccinated as this would minimise the interruptions to the school calendar.

Schools opened on August 30 for exam classes and September 6 for non-exam classes and learners, who had been at home for three months due to the level four lockdown, said they had lost a lot of learning time, despite some having access to online lessons.

Said Blessed Mavhiza from Churchill High School: "It is good to be back in school after such a long time. It has been difficult to do online lessons because there was no time for the teacher to thoroughly explain some concepts. Given the chance, I would want to get vaccinated as soon as it is available for us," he said.

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