Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
Most Zimbabweans complied with the measures needed to contain Covid-19 infection during the Christmas and New Years holidays, although there were significant exceptions.
Government and medical experts now want everyone to remain vigilant, continue following expert advice and line up for their free vaccinations.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro noted yesterday that though there are some not adhering to prescribed containment protocols, a sizeable number have been doing well and urged the generality of the people of Zimbabwe to hold on.
“The major effort was now to get vaccinated through the national vaccination programme as well as adherence to control measures like avoiding more social contact as well as maintaining hygiene.
“The people of Zimbabwe have done very well in responding to this virus by adhering to the prescribed control measures.
“Our plea is for everyone to hold on and continue following the scientific advice,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He added: “For now we advise everyone who is eligible through the national vaccination programme to get vaccinated to boost their immunity against the virus.
“If you get infected and you are vaccinated, research shows that you have a better chance of defeating this virus and the advice is to take the shots because the vaccines are there. No one will be left behind and people are being vaccinated for free.
“We have not yet won the war but if we remain responsible and urge our colleagues and communities to be responsible as well, we will definitely defeat this virus.”
In December, there was a marked increase in infection, driven mainly by the Omicron variant.
However, there were relatively few fatalities, with the fact that since a third of over 16s are now fully vaccinated, a lot of people had a high level of protection and generally even infected vaccinated people can fight off the virus.
World Health Organisation Zimbabwe representative Dr Alex Gasasira reminded people not to be carried away during festivities or when cases are receding.
Covid-19 required full vigilance and falling infection rates were an opportunity to break infection chains.
“We have to continue abiding by all the preventative measures. Unfortunately when the number of cases starts coming down, people start relaxing, forgetting about the preventative measures. This is the time we have to redouble our efforts to break the infection chain in communities,” said Dr Gasasira.
UNICEF Zimbabwe representative Dr Tajudeen Oyewale said the spike in cases occasioned by the fourth wave underscored the need for all to ramp up efforts to save lives and stop the spread of Covid-19.
“I would like to commend the Government of Zimbabwe’s leadership in guiding the National Covid-19 Response Plan, including the availability of Covid-19 vaccines,” he said.
At present, all those aged 16 and over can be vaccinated with the authorities likely soon to move the age limits down as vaccines are certified as totally safe.
This means around 9,4 million of the 15 million Zimbabweans can be vaccinated, but only a little over 4,1 million have had at least one shot.