BY VENERANDA LANGA
HEALTH and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro has told Senate that the Sinopharm vaccine from China does not need further studies as it has been extensively researched on internationally and locally to check its effectiveness against COVID-19.
Mangwiro said this last Thursday while responding to questions from senators on the effectiveness and possible side effects of the vaccine, whose 200 000 donated doses are already being distributed to different provinces.
“Before it is administered on people, we have what we call the World Health Organisation which writes to confirm that yes, this vaccine does work, and for example, to see how it works, it can be administered on a sample of five or ten healthy young men.
“We can have university students being experimented on to see how this vaccine works. What we have now in the country is a vaccine that has been dealt with already,” Mangwiro said.
“They have studied it fully. We cannot continue to do further studies on the vaccine, we have what we call Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe that has the mandate to look at issues related to this. They do extensive research on such matters to obtain full details of how the vaccine works. They even reach out to countries as far as Chile, countries that would have volunteered to do such experiments,” he said.
Mangwiro said no vaccines were rolled out without being thoroughly looked at to study their side effects.
On the issue of 61% of the infected people in the country who have the South African variant of COVID-19, Mangwiro said: “There is nothing to be afraid of, variants will continue coming on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The virus is also trying to fight the efforts to thwart it so that it is ever changing on a daily basis.”
Vice-President and Health and Child Care minister Constantino Chiwenga also told senators that there were now 22 variants of the virus in the world as it tried to constantly mutate.
Mangwiro said normally pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers do not get vaccinated because of the side effects of the medicines.
“However, if we find a vaccine which stipulates that we must do that; then we may, but due to the side effects of the virus — some may react and faint because their blood pressure would have lowered.”
He said whenever side effects occurred during the inoculation exercise, there will be trays loaded with adrenalin, drips and needles to administer to those individuals that would have reacted to the vaccine.