The Beitbridge community has hailed the Government for rolling out the Covid-19 mass vaccination programme at the country’s major border towns which is aimed at minimising the risk of new infections linked to cross-border travel.
The chief director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Maxwell Hove confirmed that resources had been mobilised to vaccinate all and targeting to immunise 26 000 in Beitbridge. Local health authorities have since opened up more vaccination points at the main district hospital, Dulivhadzimu, Tshitaudze, Wellness, ZRP, and Prisons clinics.
Community leaders in the border town said they were happy to be included in the Extended Programme on Immunisation (EPI).
Beitbridge Residents Association representative, Ms Rumbedzani Ribombo said the programme was long overdue considering that the people in border towns interface a lot with travellers using the borders.
“We are happy that the government have considered us a high-risk population because of the location of our town and that most people here rely on informal cross border businesses,” she said.
“In fact, we are the first on the line of fire since, we offer different services to travellers passing through our town and hence it is important to be protected against the effects of this pandemic.
“You will note that most women and children have been affected economically by this disease because we are not able to trade as before or travel across borders on cross-border business”. Ms Ribombo encouraged residents especially those who rely on cross border businesses to embrace the vaccination programme.
Vice-Chairperson of the Beitbridge Pastors Fraternal Reverend Tsvakai Gudlanga said.
“Our town’s economy is currently not functioning at full throttle because people cannot travel through the borders due to the pandemic. So we believe that if more people are vaccinated, we may return to our normal lives”
He said the town’s economy other than freight forwarding was anchored on formal and informal cross border businesses.
Rev Gudlanga said such a scenario makes it very critical for many people in the area to be protected through vaccination.
“We have had an interface with local health experts and it is clear that this disease was imported into the country by travellers.