BY VANESSA GONYE
ZIMBABWE received part of the donated 75 000 doses of Covaxin vaccine from India, which will complement the Chinese-sourced Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines already being used to vaccinate the population.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa received the 35 000 doses at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Zimbabwe is targeting 60% herd immunity.
“Phase three will be rolled out at a later stage and will target the remainder of the eligible population. This consignment is a timely and welcome contribution to our ongoing national COVID-19 vaccination programme,” Mnangagwa said while receiving the vaccines at the airport.
Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vijay Khanduja said the donation was part of the 60 million doses distributed in 75 countries.
The vaccine efficacy is pegged at between 80,6% and 81%, slightly higher than the two vaccines currently in use in Zimbabwe.
MDC Alliance secretary for health Henry Madzorera told NewsDay that the efficacy of the vaccine was encouraging although it was yet to be tested locally.
“It is good to have the vaccine even if it is below the said efficacy, it is still good. We would give it a go. Any vaccine that gives more than 60% efficacy is good according to World Health Organisation guidelines,” Madzorera said.
Meanwhile, all African Union (AU) member States will have access to 220 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson single shot COVID-19 vaccine following a deal signed at the weekend.
This was disclosed by AU chairperson, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who said a vaccine procurement agreement was signed on Sunday with the pharmaceutical company through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.
In a statement, the AU said there is a potential for African countries to order an additional 180 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
“Most of the supplies will be produced at the giant pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma. The vaccines will be made available to African countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform, over a period of 18 months,” the AU said.