Zimbabwe yesterday took delivery of over 500 000 Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine jabs, which are part of a 1,5 million batch of doses, with the first consignment of 500 000 delivered on Thursday and the final 500 000 expected today.
This comes as Treasury has released an additional US$40 million for the purchase of the Covid-19 vaccines, taking the total amount set aside to US$140 million.
The initial US$100 million has already been used to buy 12 million shots and syringes from China, as well as pay for the shipment of supplies and other related sundries.
Speaking after the arrival of the vaccines at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Ministry of Health and Child Care director nursing services Mrs Nyaradzai Chiwara said Zimbabwe had so far received 7,285 million doses.
By Thursday a total of 2 233 565 people had received their first dose and 1 386 752 had been fully vaccinated.
To date Zimbabwe has approved the use of Sinopharm, Sinovac, Covaxin, Sputnik, and Johnson and Johnson for vaccination against Covid-19.
The overwhelming bulk of vaccinations given so far have been the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.
On Thursday, the chief director curative services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Maxwell Hove said another batch of one million Sinovac doses were expected on Tuesday.
Finance and Economic Development Permanent Secretary Mr George Guvamatanga said recently the additional emergency allocation of US$40 million was to ensure the supply chain was fully funded in advance and that no shortages would develop.
While Treasury was working on buying the needed doses as the main part of the supply chain, he said, donations were helping to extend that, and the Africa Union facility, to which Zimbabwe had made a down payment of US$7,5 million for 5 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine, had a loan facility for the balance.
The daily vaccine programme has been accelerating and on Tuesday managed to go above 100 000 jabs in a single day and is now exceeding 500 000 doses a week.
Private pharmacists have started training to administer the Covid-19 vaccine as Government seeks to boost the programme by creating more points from which people can get their jabs.
Pharmacists will charge nominal administration fees while the vaccine itself remains free.