While the free Covid-19 vaccinations will be voluntary, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is urging all Zimbabweans to accept vaccination to maximise protection.
The present network of hospitals and clinics and their trained staff that already vaccinate against other diseases will be used to administer the Covid-19 vaccinations with extra staff assigned when needed.
Outlining Zimbabwe’s immunisation plan, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro said yesterday that following analysis of global and local scientific research, the ministry was urging everyone to take the doses.
“This vaccine is going to be free of charge. It is going to be on a voluntary basis, but our advice is that people must get this injection if possible, but no one will be forced.”
“Our scientists point to the fact that this vaccine is potentially very helpful. It’s helpful in trying to avert the disaster we are seeing with the Covid-19 disease. We definitely encourage people to get it,” said Dr Mangwiro.
Zimbabwe had structures already in place for vaccination of other diseases like polio and a swathe of childhood illnesses and these would be used for Covid-19.
Testing and monitoring would ensure vaccination safety.
“The preparations that are already on the ground are that we already have a structure where we were giving the vaccines for diseases like polio. Those are still in place and we will use those structures. We will also collect data from people to see if they already have antibodies to this Covid-19 and to see what will come after this injection of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“We need swabs to see if they have the disease in their nostrils at that time. People should be ready to give us information about themselves. It will be kept confidential, but this will help us when we give the second dose of the vaccine to say how did you react when we gave you the first dose,” said Dr Mangwiro.
Dr Mangwiro said it was very important for people to report any unusual feeling like headaches so that they could get assistance if they reacted to the vaccine.
“We will have centres where the vaccine will be given. Very soon, you will be told where to get your vaccine.
Dr Mangwiro said the dates for vaccination would be announced soon, saying there would normally be two jabs, separated by around a month, to ensure maximum resistance to Covid-19.