Senior Health Reporter
As Zimbabweans warm up to the Covid-19 vaccination programme, there is a need to refrain from complacency as the possibility of a third wave of infections cannot be ruled out.
According to data from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the daily positivity rate rose from 0,9 percent on March 10 to 2,1 percent on March 11. The number of active cases increased from 899 to 913 and three deaths were recorded.
Government recently announced the relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown measures which saw most sectors of the economy opening up, increasing the activity and gatherings across the country.
Zimbabwe is expecting to take delivery of more vaccines next week, it has become prudent that more citizens be vaccinated so as to protect against new infections.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana yesterday reiterated the need for an increased uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“New cases have risen again. Appetite for vaccine could be better. There is a new surge of infection and deaths in Brazil. A third wave in Zimbabwe is not beyond reality. We can never forget the grim picture of three coffins lining up at the National (Heroes Acre) shrine. Let’s not be complacent,” he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun this week said there was room for more collaboration between Zimbabwe and China in the procurement of vaccines.
He expressed confidence that the country could beat the pandemic soon.
So far, 36 019 frontline workers have been vaccinated under the first phase of the national vaccination programme launched last month.
Government will be moving into the second phase of the exercise which will see people with co-morbidities and those at high risk of dying if they get infected.
However, there might be need for more people to be included in the second phase as more vaccines are brought into the country.
“We are discussing if we can include teachers in the next phase of vaccinations but as you know, the whole country has opened up and everyone will need the vaccine. Our concern is to make sure that everyone is safe,” said Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro.
Treasury has set aside US$100 million for the procurement of vaccines that will cater for 10 million people.
The country will start receiving some of those vaccines next week and more will come in regularly after that.
The recruitment of more health personnel to conduct the exercise is already underway and will complement the already existing staff.
Zimbabwe now has a cumulative total of 36 377 Covid-19 cases and 1 492 deaths. The number of people who have recovered is now at 33 972 with a recovery rate of 93,4 percent.
Across the globe, new variants of the pandemic continue to be detected with the most recent ones in Brazil, United Kingdom and the United States.