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Zim needs US$7m for corona vaccines

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Mugove Tafirenyika

CHIEF WRITER

tafirenyikam@dailynews.co.zw

THE government is mobilising about US$7 million to acquire enoug hvaccines to inoculate 60 percent of the population with the first phase of the programme commencing on Thursday with frontline workers.

This was said by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday during a post-cabinet media briefing at the government’s Munhumutapa offices in the capital.

This comes as Zimbabwe took delivery of the first batch of 200 000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine from China on Monday with 600 000 more doses expected in early March.

Mutsvangwa said  in his report to Cabinet, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health minister, had informed Cabinet that the 1,8 million doses the country is targeting for the envisaged 60 percent of the population were going to be acquired with funding through public, private partnerships (PPs) as well as support from the
governments of China, India and Russia.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the public that public, private partnerships are being co-ordinated by the ministry of Finance. The total estimated operational budget for Covid-19 vaccination over all the phases is US$6 778 777. Many well-wishers, including the governments of India, China, and the Russian Federation, are supporting Zimbabwe’s vaccine programme,” Mutsvangwa said.

She also said the Cabinet had been informed that the country was now
dealing with the South African variant of the Covid-19 and that the
local variant had disappeared.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that results of the genomic sequencing recently conducted indicate that the type of Covid-19 virus that the nation had in 2020 has receded. There is now a 61 percent dominance of the new South African variant of the Covid-19 virus which spreads faster and has a higher fatality rate.

“Accordingly, the nation now needs to be more vigilant than before and adhere to Covid-19 prevention and control measures. Security personnel have, therefore, been directed to intensify monitoring and enforcement in order to enhance compliance,” Mutsvangwa said.

The minister said the  government’s aim was to  vaccinate 22 percent under the first phase, 18,4 percent under phase two and  another 18,4 percent under phase 3, “thereby yielding a vaccinated population of nearly 60 percent of the population”.

“The vaccination programme commences on 18th February 2020, on a voluntary basis and will be free.

“Cabinet further wishes to inform the nation that the priority for the vaccine roll-out programme will be accorded to the country’s health workers, followed by health personnel in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Defence Forces, and the Prisons and Correctional Services.

“The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Immigration and Agritex workers willalso be prioritised under Phase 1.

“Persons who are over 60 years and other vulnerable groups will also
be targeted under the initial phase.

“Phase 2 will encompass college and university lecturers and school teachers, while the rest of the population at low risk will be catered for under Phase 3,” she said.

Mutsvangwa also indicated that training of the Covid-19 vaccination staff trainers has already commenced.

“Training is focusing on vaccine storage, communication, surveillance, vaccination, monitoring and evaluation and waste management.

“Vaccination will take place at fixed and outreach points, and will cover 10 days in the first round and five days in the second round.

“All persons vaccinated will be registered and advised when to report for the second dose. All the people who are given a first dose are assured of a second dose. It must be noted that vaccination will be on a voluntary basis.

“There will be close monitoring and surveillance for any adverse reactions to the vaccines.”

Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at over 35 000 with about
30 000 recoveries, and about 1 400 deaths. The country has a case
fatality rate of four percent and a recovery rate of 85,5 percent.

Mutsvangwa said Chiwenga had assured the nation that his ministry’s
approach to the vaccine issue was based on science and continuing
research.

“Vaccines are being sourced from manufacturers, through multiple
financing arrangements. Vaccines are registered by the Medicines
Control Authority of Zimbabwe, in terms of Section 75 of the Medicines
and Allied Substances Control Act.

“A committee is implementing vaccine vigilance plans to monitor the
safety and effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines. The vaccine
consignments are physically verified for the implementation of safety
measures,” Mutsvangwa added.

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