Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
MORE than 7 000 informal traders were inoculated against the Covid-19 pandemic in Bulawayo over the past week in a special exercise targeting them while vaccination of the public in the city is set to start this week.
The figure is almost half of the target of 15 000 informal traders that was set by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in the city, with indications that the target is likely to be accomplished well before the 10 day period lapses.
Bulawayo will be further opening up the vaccination drive to every citizen after the arrival of two million doses from China last Thursday.
Since the province embarked on the mass vaccination programme, long winding queues have characterised the temporary vaccination sites dotted across the city. Bulawayo acting Provincial Medical Director, Dr Welcome Mlilo said the figure of the informal traders being vaccinated was gradually increasing since they began the exercise last Tuesday with a total of 7 219 getting their first jabs by last Friday. Dr Mlilo revealed that last Tuesday 1203 informal traders were vaccinated, Wednesday; 1623, Thursday; 1994 and on Friday 2399 got vaccinated.
“The vaccination blitz campaign targeting informal market traders in the city has gone on well. We have managed to progressively improve the number of people being reached per day. During our planning phase, we were cognisant that there are about 3500 registered informal traders and an even greater number of unregistered ones. So we made provision to inoculate around 15000 informal traders during this exercise. As you can see, we are on the mark to reach that target. We are aware that this exercise has had some challenges. This is the first such vaccination drive, so we have had to learn quickly and adapt to the circumstances,” said Dr Mlilo.
The acting PMD revealed that starting this week the city will be opening vaccination to the general public which will see the city move closer to achieving its herd immunity. Bulawayo is targeting to vaccinate at least 400 000 residents to achieve herd immunity amid soaring cases and deaths which have been experienced over the past few days.
“Generally, we are modestly pleased with the progress so far. The vaccine demand is good. The supply chain/ availability of the vaccines has improved markedly following delivery of the two million vaccines into the country this week. As a result we are opening vaccination to all eligible citizens, 18 years and above. Vaccines will be accessible for all from local clinics, central hospitals and other selected sites. We will issue a flyer soon with these details,” said Dr Mlilo.
Meanwhile, over the past week the country recorded over 80 000 people who got their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as the government ups its drive of ensuring that the nation achieves herd immunity. Latest statistics compiled from official sources by open data portal Our World in Data show that, as of 9 July, 9,85 percent of the country’s population has been inoculated against the pandemic.
According to figures from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, 83 281 people got their first jab last week, bringing the cumulative total of those that have got their first jab to 875 182 while the second jab the cumulative total is pegged at 588 883.
On Thursday, the country took delivery of two million Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines bought from China, with another 3,5 million expected this month as Government intensifies the vaccination programme, part of efforts to bring life in the country back to normalcy.
The Government is keen to quickly achieve herd immunity and revive the economy which has been affected by the global pandemic. Senior State officials yesterday said the vaccination programme was not just about saving lives but saving the economy and the world at large. Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate 10 million people to attain herd immunity.