THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has called for a coordinated and organised roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign with an initial focus on high risk and vulnerable groups.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking through its 19th COVID-19 Monitoring and Advocacy Report, ZADHR said roll out of the vaccine should nit be rushed and the safety of citizens should be prioritized above all.
The ZADHR proposes that government rolls out a targeted vaccination campaign which initially prioritizes high risk groups and the vulnerable. Furthermore, a new policy thrust that enhances safety and protection of groups at higher risk of mortality and morbidity from COVID 19 must be considered.
“Coordinated efforts ZADHR between the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and more importantly, teachers’ associations are needed to come up with sustainable measures that
will make learning spaces safe and equip schools to respond and report positive and suspected COVID 19 cases,” said ZADHR.
They added that they acknowledge the scientific breakthroughs in COVID 19 vaccine development announced recently and urged the Government of Zimbabwe to urgently plan and budget for the nationwide free provision of the COVID 19 vaccine to all citizens.
“The urgent provision of resources, availability of cold chain vaccines infrastructure, smooth distribution networks, and citizen education against vaccine hesitancy will prove to be important game changers in the fight against COVID 19 in the country.
[pullquote]”ZADHR urges the MoHCC to put in place a framework within its governance structures that shall oversee the acquisition, distribution, and monitoring of the COVID 19 vaccine in Zimbabwe. The state has an obligation to ensure that the COVID 19 vaccine is available to all citizens in an equitable manner.”[/pullquote]
Speaking on the country’s response to COVID-19, ZADHR said the country has been recording an increase in new cases of COVID-19, with majority of cases being community and local transmissions.
“Zimbabwe has witnessed a rise in COVID 19 infections in the past few weeks, with most cases being reported as locally transmitted. The recent data points to widespread community transmission of COVID 19 in the country and worrying foci of cases in schools. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) leadership further asserted that secrecy, fear, and mistrust are also complicating the true assessment of the extent of COVID 19 in schools.
“ZADHR calls for an urgent review of the country’s response to COVID 19. Testing rates must be urgently upscaled
and made proportionate to the threat posed by a second wave of COVID 19, intensive care capacity for handling complicated cases assessed and where possible increased.”
Meanwhile, ZADHR said it is disturbed by reports of stranded travelers the country’s different border posts in the
country due to documentation related issues including invalid COVID-19 certificates.
“ZADHR calls upon the government to devise a centralized, verifying mechanism that proves the authenticity of COVID 19 certificates ports of entry. The ports of entry must also be equipped to adequately screen, test, isolate or quarantine travelers depending on their COVID 19 status in line with human rights standards.”