Traders operating at Harare markets are keen to be vaccinated under the priority being given to markets, the depots where farmers deliver their crops, border town, hotspots and other places where large groups can gather to help slow infection rates.
President Mnangagwa, announcing the new Government enhancement of the Level Four lockdown on Tuesday, stressed the upgrading of the national vaccination programme now that the vaccine supply pipeline is fully operational, with particular emphasis on areas where people are most vulnerable.
These include border towns and cities, tobacco auction floors, grain marketing depots, cotton marketing depots, major construction sites, people’s markets such as Renkini and Mbare, and all hotspots.
Speaking to The Herald, vendors said vaccination was important and most of them would go for the jabs once they were available for them. “We have not been vaccinated yet but if we can have a centre close to us, we will get the shot. For now I cannot leave my table here to go and stand in line for the vaccine. We all want to be protected so we ask that the Government brings the vaccine closer to us,” said Mr Leanmore Mtizwa.
“We want to be vaccinated because we understand that we will be protected from the Covid-19 and we want to continue working freely knowing we are safe,” said Ms Vimbai Mashoko.
Another trader who preferred anonymity said it was important for all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated for everyone to be safe.
“Vaccination is good but the Government should make sure that everyone is vaccinated. It is not only us vendors who can put others at risk of contracting the disease but even those coming in to buy can infect us. We are also at risk.
“Even if we are protected, we can still get the disease from our customers so at the end of the day we need every Zimbabwean to be vaccinated,” she said.
Zimbabwe embarked on the national Covid-19 vaccination programme in February and is targeting to vaccinate 10 million people to achieve herd immunity. By Tuesday 770 709 people have received the first jab while 544 888 have received both doses.
The vaccination programme slowed a little in part of June, with significantly fewer people getting their first jab although everyone was able to get the second on the appointed day.
However the supply lines are now firmer with 500 000 doses arriving last week, to bring total gifts and purchases to 2,26 million doses have actually arrived and now 2 million more doses expected from China this week in the largest commercial order to date and then regular deliveries of 1,5 million doses each month for the next three months.
Already vaccination rates daily are rising, so the targeted 1,5 million doses being bought will be used as they arrive.
Public health experts believe that such consistent procurement of the vaccines could drive the national programme and help to achieve herd immunity.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director, Mr Itai Rusike commended the Government on the progress made with the vaccination but added that more still needed to be done.
“There is urgent need to ensure continued supply of vaccines in the country and sustained health education, information and awareness campaigns so that more people can be encouraged to willingly take up the vaccine the way we have been using the rights based approach right from the beginning with excellent results making us the envy of the region and the global community despite our limited resources,” he said.