SENIOR STAFF WRITER
LOCAL health experts are encouraged by the high uptake levels of the available Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines by frontline workers.
This comes as the current vaccination phase, which started on Monday and will run for 10 days, will see authorities inoculating up to 150 000 frontline workers around the country.
The president of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Shingai Nyaguse-Chiurunge told the Daily News yesterday that many SHDA members had already volunteered to take the jab.
“I do not have the accurate figures on how many have been vaccinated so far, but from what I have gathered it’s encouraging. I’m told our members are being vaccinated,” she said.
The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Norman Matara, was one of the first physicians to get vaccinated.
“Mass vaccination is our only hope of returning to normalcy. Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective and have helped in eradicating pandemics since time immemorial. Happy to receive my SinoPharm Covid-19 vaccine,” Matara said on Twitter.
However, the president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), Enock Dongo, still feels there is a need for authorities to do more to educate people about the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
“From the general observation, it seems there is still some scepticism. I think the government should do more and send the word out there educating people on this drug. People should be told of the side effects and other stuff of the drug,” he said.
But speaking in Parliament earlier this week, deputy Health minister John Mangwiro allayed fears about the vaccines.
“Government is making sure that things are safe for this new vaccine. We also want to make sure that Zimbabweans get this vaccine for free, no matter the level,” he said.
The deputy minister also reiterated that private players would be allowed to procure their own vaccines.
“So, the private players, if they want to bring in their vaccines, if there is any particular one that they want that is registered here, they are allowed to bring it. But they must make sure that it goes through government channels.
“If the vaccine is meant for their workers, of course government workers and nurses will ensure that they monitor and help them roll out these new vaccines which are coming into the country, no matter which ones.
“But what we are saying is that it is the government that will allow them to buy through the ministry of Finance.
“We definitely will be allowing them to, but we monitor how they give that vaccine to make sure that it is safely given and kept and that every Zimbabwean is not then put into a position where they have to buy the vaccine or are unable to access the vaccine,” Mangwiro said.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 1 456 deaths from the confirmed 35 960 coronavirus cases, ever since the first wave hit the country in March 2020.
In order to achieve herd immunity, authorities are targeting vaccinating at least 60 percent of the entire population, which equates to about 10 million people.
Once the first phase ends, the second stage will see the elderly above 60, those with chronic diseases, the prison population and teachers getting inoculated.
The rest of the population will receive their doses in the third and final phase of the vaccination drive.