BY VANESSA GONYE
HIV-POSITIVE people who have taken COVID-19 jabs in Zimbabwe have not shown any complications, preliminary studies have revealed.
This was said yesterday by National Aids Council (NAC) chief executive Bernard Madzima.
He said new evidence had quashed myths that had been peddled to the effect that people living with HIV and other chronic ailments were at high risk of severe complications after taking COVID-19 doses.
The country is currently inoculating people against COVID-19 using the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines from China, the Russian Sputnik V, and has also administered the Indian Covaxin vaccine to a few thousand people.
Madzima said while NAC was still analysing data on possible effects of the vaccines on HIV+ people, preliminary indications were that the jabs were safe.
“We have done some studies looking at the impact of COVID-19 on HIV clients and preliminary results are quite pleasing in the sense that in most areas, HIV clients have not been compromised. We are still analysing the data and we will share it once we are done,” he said.
The country aims to vaccinate 10 million people to achieve the targeted 60% to attain herd immunity by year end.
As at yesterday morning, 3 408 610 people had received their first dose, while 2 669 749 were fully vaccinated.
A recent UNAids report states: “For people living with HIV, COVID-19 vaccines bring the same benefits as they bring to all individuals and communities-prevention of severe disease due to SARS-CoV-2 and potentially reduced transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Meanwhile, Madzima said this year’s World Aids Day commemorations on December 1 would coincide with NAC’s 20th anniversary.
The celebrations will be held in Mashonaland West province.
“It is important for NAC because it marks 20 years since it was formed and we have been co-ordinating multi-sectorial responses to HIV in Zimbabwe. We view it as an important milestone for Zimbabwe and the programme.”
He said this year’s theme would be anchored on HIV and Aids in the face of another pandemic.