Senior Health Reporter
The latest order of 500 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines is now expected to arrive on Saturday, taking total deliveries of bought and donated vaccines to 2,26 million doses with more commercial orders already in the pipeline allowing a stepped-up vaccination programme.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro yesterday confirmed the impending delivery of the latest order and said more orders for a regular supply were being made.
“We will be receiving the next batch of 500 000 this Saturday. We want to keep the supply of vaccines consistent so we have already made orders for more vaccines. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is handling the procurement, but we definitely want to keep the vaccines coming,” he said.
By Sunday night 435 668 people had been fully vaccinated with both doses, and with another 267 397 people having had their first dose and now awaiting their second dose.
While stocks are kept back for the guaranteed second jabs, there has been a slowdown in first jabs recently while the new order is awaited, but with the new order of 500 000 doses another 250 000 can get both jabs.
Treasury set aside US$100 million for the procurement of vaccines and so far, 1,2 million Sinovac doses have been bought from China to add to 400 000 Sinopharm doses donated by China and the 100 000 Sinopharm doses from the from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
An additional 35 000 doses have come from India and last week diamond producer Alrosa, which has operations in Zimbabwe, delivered 25 000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V with a second batch set to be delivered soon.
The need for increased supply of vaccines comes as the country has been experiencing a surge of Covid-19 cases which have forced Government to introduce localised lockdowns in Kariba, Karoi, Makonde and Kwekwe districts.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care Situation Report, active cases have gone up to 2 923 as of Sunday from 775 on June 1. The increased infection rate is reflected in the recovery rate falling to 89 percent from 94 percent at the start of the month. This means that 11 percent of all those who have fallen ill since March last year are still ill.
The total number of Covid-19 cases recorded since the pandemic was detected in March last year is now at 41 779 with 1672 deaths.
Tighter lockdown restrictions have been put in place in Kariba, Hurungwe and Makonde districts to slow infection rates in a new hotspot.
Enforcement is strict, with police in Kariba, for example, arresting at least 83 people for violating lockdown regulations since Saturday as people continue to ignore prevention and protective protocols.