BY LORRAINE MUROMO
Teachers’ unions yesterday expressed mixed views over taking the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, with some indicating that they did not trust its efficacy, while others said it was important to take the jab.
This comes after government announced on Tuesday that stage two of the inoculation exercise would prioritise teachers, tobacco merchants and hospitality industry workers.
Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou told NewsDay that they were more concerned about testing and screening for the virus to ensure maximum protection as schools prepare to open next Monday.
“Teachers are not interested in the vaccination scheme, they do not trust the vaccine from China. All they would concentrate on is adequate testing and screening,” he said.
“Even if you receive the vaccine, there is no guarantee that you will not contract COVID-19. You can still be infected with COVID-19. The efficacy of the vaccine is not as strong. Testing and screening is the most important thing at the moment as it helps to highlight the status of each and every individual so that there can be separation between the infected and those who are not infected.”
Zhou said teachers had been carrying out research to establish the safety of the vaccine and the outcome indicated 70% effects, adding that what is worse was that the vaccine was still at testing stage.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said: “It is government’s responsibility to launch a serious campaign system about the efficacy of the vaccine so that it improves the uptake of the vaccine among teachers.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association secretary-general Goodwill Taderera said: “As long as the vaccine has been tried and tested, as a union, we advocate for our members to get vaccinated. If the vaccination is being done all over the world, who are we to say no?”
During the handover of the vaccines, which arrived from China in Harare on Tuesday, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said: “More than 60 countries have authorised the use of Chinese vaccines. The safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines are earning recognition across the world. China is prepared to discuss with other countries the feasibility and protocols for mutual recognition of vaccination.”