BY REJOICE NCUBE
The City of Bulawayo has reportedly run out of COVID-19 vaccines, with authorities saying the most affected are those seeking the first dose.
Council health services director Edwin Sibanda yesterday said they received about 3 600 doses last Friday and dispatched them to United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Mpilo Central Hospital and Ingutsheni.
Sibanda confirmed the shortage of the first dose at council clinics and urged residents to seek the jab at central hospitals.
“The first dose ran out more than two weeks ago. I am not sure exactly when but we have been trying to talk to government because we get these doses from outside,” Sibanda said.
“However, we did receive about 3 000 or more vaccines last Friday and they were placed in central hospitals because there were not enough to put in clinics. Therefore, residents can get vaccinated there for now until we can get enough vaccines to place at the clinics.”
Government has blamed the shortages on uneven distribution of the vaccines, with some areas having an oversupply.
Yesterday, some residents said they were turned away at council clinics, with authorities saying they only had the second dose.
The first dose was not available.
“The government claims to have resumed the vaccination programme but, however, there are still shortages of vaccines in local clinics where we are told they can only offer the second dose. How are we supposed to get vaccinated if health facilities are not fully equipped,” said Mpopoma resident Takatso Mabhanga.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said they received numerous complaints from residents regarding the shortage of the first dose at in local clinics.
“Residents are complaining about the shortage of first dose vaccines in local clinics. When we tried to investigate the issue, we found that the first dose vaccines are mainly being offered in big government hospitals and we challenge the authorities to address this issue. This is because with the rise of COVID-19 cases, we expect our healthy facilities to be fully equipped,” Sibindi said.
“Residents cannot be seen jostling for vaccines at Mpilo Hospital when they can easily access the vaccines at their local clinics.”