Senior Health Reporter
There has been a significant response to the national vaccination roll out by the elderly who have been coming forth to get their shots since last week.
Senior citizens made-up the bulk of the people who thronged Wilkins Infectious Disease hospital this week following the extension of the programme to cover those above 60 years of age, people with underlying conditions, teachers, hospitality industry staff as well as other frontline workers who have not been vaccinated.
Although all age groups are at risk of contracting Covid-19, older people have been classified among those who are at high risk of developing severe illness and death if they contract the disease.
Among those who got vaccinated yesterday was former Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango who commended the increased turnout.
She said the number of those coming forward was a sign that people were now more knowledgeable about the vaccine and their benefits.
“At first we were apprehensive and doubtful about the vaccines but once you get here (at the vaccination centre), it becomes clearer. As you can see the numbers are picking up and people are warming up to the vaccine,” she said.
She commended the Government for the efforts to enable citizens to get the vaccine free of charge which she said would help reduce the number of people dying from the pandemic.
Retired nurse Mrs Rosemary Gwata said Covid-19 vaccines are very important and encouraged Zimbabweans to take them.
“People will ask questions and question the vaccines, but they should know that it is very important to get vaccinated against this Covid-19 pandemic. This is why we made sure that we protected our children when they were young. They received immunisation from day one up to the time when they were grown up. The same thing is now happening with this virus and we are fortunate that there is a vaccine now. Why not take advantage of the vaccine which is being given for free. I am a nurse and I encourage all people to come and be vaccinated,” she said
Another retired nurse and wife to the late national hero Dr Tichaona Jokonya, Mrs Winfrieda Jokonya, also received her first jab at Wilkins. She said there was need for more education to convince the masses to come forth and be vaccinated.
“My daughter is a doctor and she has been telling us that if there is a vaccine, we should go for it but we were a bit apprehensive. At the end of the day we realised that this is the way to go. If other people are having it and surviving, then why should we not take it?,” she asked.
So far 43 294 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 as the Government moves to increase the number of people who get the shot. The country has so far received 600 000 doses of vaccines from China. The first 200 000 was donated by the Chinese government and was used to kick-start the rollout.
The second batch consists of another Chinese donation of 200 000 and 200 000 procured by Treasury.
Government has plans to bring in two million vaccines to cater for 60 percent of the country’s population to achieve head immunity.