AT least 60 percent of the country’s population will be vaccinated for free with a national vaccine deployment framework now complete that will see frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions being vaccinated first, President Mnangagwa said.
Addressing the nation yesterday, the President said regardless of the challenges that have been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic there is light at the end of the tunnel as infections are coming down.
Already, the country is expecting delivery of 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccines from China, while more vaccines to inoculate over 60 percent of the population so as to achieve herd immunity will be accessed by Government and partners such as the African Union-Global Fund Covax facility soon.
“Our overall National Response Strategy has reached a stage where we can now introduce vaccines as a second front preventive measure. As such, Covid-19 vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe, will soon be introduced. These will be State-funded and free.
“The National Vaccination Strategy will continue to be guided by the best available scientific evidence and the safety of all Zimbabweans remaining a priority.
“A national vaccine deployment framework has also been finalised. The initial objective is to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve population immunity. The first phase will see our hardworking frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions being prioritised,” he said.
However, the President said the impending Covid-19 vaccination programme does not mean the nation should drop guard as the doses do not provide 100 percent immunity or mean immunity for the vaccinated.
He said the nation should, even after the vaccination programme, instead continue observing the World Health Organisations (WHO) regulations that include social distancing, washing hands and wearing facemasks.
“Government has set aside the requisite financial resources for the purchase of vaccines. In line with our policy of pooling national effort and resources, Government will also partner the corporate world and other players in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and related consumables.
He applauded China for standing with Zimbabwe during the trying times spawned by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the country’s healthcare workers who have shouldered the burden of taking care of the sick, especially during the more infectious second wave of the global pestilence this year.
“I would like to applaud you, my fellow countrymen and women, for your resilience and continued adherence to Covid-19 lockdown measures and the World Health Organisation protocols. Your care for one another, positive attitude and public health behaviour has brought about a relatively flattened curve. Together in union and through our actions and our deployment of scientific options and prayer for our beloved nation, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will win this war against Covid-19. We have not lost hope of a better future, we will keep moving on,” he said.
Presently, Zimbabwe is observing a level 4 lockdown that will be reviewed on February 15 after the country witnessed a surge in infections in January, however, because of the timeous measures that were implemented by the Government, the infection rate is falling while the recovery rate is increasing.
“To you, my countrymen and women, I want to remind you that the war is not yet over. We must renew our vigilance, at all times so that we consolidate the current downward transmission trend through masking up, washing hands and practising social distancing,” he said.
The President added that the painful experiences wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and other natural disasters such as cyclones have fostered a sense of national unity.
“Our challenges have toughened us and should indeed embolden us for the tasks that are ahead towards building a prosperous nation. Let our spirits not be dampened or deterred by sideshows.”
Zimbabwe is presently pursuing Vision 2030, to become a middle class economy through the implementation of the National Strategic Strategy 1, and notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, the buoyant agriculture and mining sectors could see the country registering positive economic growth this year.