Vaccination the way to go — Chiwenga

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Tariro Sajeni

VICE President Constantino Chiwenga says Zimbabweans need to accept being vaccinated against Covid-19 for the country to combat the deadly pandemic.

Chiwenga, who is also the Health minister, became the first Zimbabwean to receive the Sinopharm jab yesterday in the capital to mark the commencement of the national rollout programme. This comes as Zimbabwe received its first batch of 200 000 doses from China. The first phase of the inoculation programme will target close to 150 000 frontline health workers.

“My presence here today with some  ministry officials including my deputy (John Mangwiro), is to exhibit the government’s confidence in the Sinopharm vaccine.

“I have received my Covid-19 vaccine jab together with my deputy minister and my staff; therefore, I urge all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated at their nearest health centres. It is in the interest of all of us to be vaccinated against the virus,” Chiwenga said.

The vice president volunteered to become the first recipient of the vaccine in a bid to assure healthcare workers and the rest of the population that the doses were safe.

There have been many wild and unsubstantiated theories on social media platforms and in the streets about the vaccine, with people saying they will not take the jab following claims that Western nations developed Covid-19 vaccines to wipe out the populations of Third World countries.

“The vaccine will be administered to all frontline workers which are the health services, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, immigration officials and the health staff of the security services.

“My ministry conducted all scientific processes to ascertain the efficacy of Sinopharm which was confirmed to be 79 percent effective,” Chiwenga added.

After the first phase is complete, Zimbabwe is expected inoculate elderly people above 60 years, the chronically ill, prisoners and teachers. The rest of the population will be vaccinated in the third and final phase, with the government hoping to inoculate at least 60 percent of the country.

“More Covid-19 vaccines are expected in the country till the required quantities are achieved in the shortest possible time. “Zimbabweans must continue to uphold preventive measures even after being vaccinated because it doesn’t mean that is the end. The vaccination programme is starting to rollout today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today), vaccines are going out to the provinces,” Chiwenga said.

Health workers have been trained countrywide in administering and cold management of the doses. Meanwhile, Senior Hospital Doctors Association of Zimbabwe spokesperson, Aaron Musara, told the Daily News that the government needs to do more to assure the public that the doses were safe.

“Government needs to focus on ensuring that people have bought into the prevention measures and that businesses and schools have finalised their infection prevention and control measures and there is adequate PPE in hospitals while we await more vaccines,” said Musara.

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