The public must be aware of all issues concerning Covid-19 vaccines to have the confidence that they are safe, World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said in an interview.
“Our organisation’s recommendations to countries is to ensure that the process of introduction of Covid-19 vaccines is done in a manner that it encourages wide discussions with all stakeholders to address and ensure that everybody gets the information they need,” he said.
Public health specialist Dr Grant Murewanhema added that religious and community leaders together with health practitioners need to inform the public on the benefits of vaccinations.
Vaccines do not change the personality of an individual, but they are designed to protect individuals from acquiring infections that cause diseases.
“Vaccines have brought substantial gains to our population over the years. We have all received vaccinations against diseases like tuberculosis, measles among others and there is no way these vaccines are going to alter your DNA or change your personality,” he said
Harare residents who spoke to The Herald last week welcomed vaccines as a panacea.
Zimbabwe recently received a donation of 200 000 shots of the Sinopharm vaccine which is 80 percent effective from China.
Vaccination is voluntary and free of charge.
The first round of vaccinations will include 60 000 healthcare and other frontline workers. The elderly and those with chronic conditions will follow.
Health officials have already been trained to administer the jabs with preparations continuing for the continued implementation of the programme which is targeting 10 million people.
Last week, the country also received a consignment of Covid-19 response material worth over $160 000 from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which included 120 oxygen concentrators, 120 000 Covid-19 rapid antigen test kits and personal protective equipment.