Senior Health Reporter
Zimbabwe is now experiencing a third Covid-19 wave and will need all citizens to collectively fight against it and embrace the national vaccination programme, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
The country is expecting 2,5 million Covid-19 vaccines from China by the end of this month and these will be used to ensure that more Zimbabweans are protected from the disease.
The vaccines come at a time the country is facing increased demand for the jab as cases continue to increase.
Speaking at the official handover of medical equipment from Satewave Technologies to Sally Mugabe Central Hospital yesterday, VP Chiwenga said it was imperative for everyone to be protected against Covid-19 to avoid losing more lives.
“We are already facing the third wave and we all need to fight this invisible enemy. For us to win the war, we must all cooperate.
“We will be going on a full war to make sure that this invisible enemy is defeated, but we want cooperation from everyone of you, from every Zimbabwean,” he said.
Government would continue procuring vaccines for everyone to be vaccinated starting with the Kariba, Chirundu, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Mutare and Nyamapanda border areas before the exercise moved into hotspots and the two metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.
VP Chiwenga said Government was hopeful that in the near future, all border towns would achieve herd immunity, which had already been attained in Victoria Falls.
Vendors operating in all market places across the country would also have to be vaccinated to ensure they did not spread the disease to customers.
Hundreds of vendors converge daily at Mbare Musika in Harare, Renkini in Bulawayo, Sakubva Musika in Mutare and other market places, posing a threat of spreading Covid-19 in the event of an outbreak.
“Those who want to trade must have a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. If you have no vaccination why should you sell and become a super spreader?
“If one wants to sell at a market place the individual must get vaccinated to protect themselves and the next person,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said it was important for people to be vaccinated as some of the cases were coming from neighbouring countries which were facing serious challenges in containing a fresh outbreak.
Places like Kariba, Chirundu and Karoi have been the worst affected, reportedly by the increase in cases in Zambia where deaths have soared over the last few weeks.
South Africa and Namibia have also been recording increases in new cases and deaths hence all border areas have become susceptible to the pandemic.
VP Chiwenga assured the nation that Government would strive to make sure that no Zimbabwean died of Covid-19.
“We do not want to lose any Zimbabwean to this disease so we want to ensure that everyone takes care of themselves.
“It is no longer an issue of saying one does not want to get vaccinated, but posing a danger to others. We have realised that people are dying so we want everyone to be vaccinated so that you protect yourself and the next person,” he said.
He said Government was also conducting research into the vaccination of younger age groups.
Currently, the vaccines are only being administered to people between the ages of 18 and 70 as data on efficacy in younger and older populations is not yet available.
“Other countries are already vaccinating children between 3 and 17 years and our researchers are also looking into this to see if we can also embark on such an initiative. Once we are satisfied, we will be notifying citizens on this, but for now, those who are eligible should get vaccinated,” VP Chiwenga said.