INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, senator Monica Mutsvangwa says that the administration of the COVID-19 Vaccine will be voluntary and wont’ be forced on any citizen.
By Staff Reporter
Addressing a Post Cabinet Media Briefing, Senator Mutsvangwa said the it was imperative that the country accelerates the acquisition of vaccines in order to halt a potential third wave.
Cabinet was informed that the country is saddled with a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has manifested in high infection and death rates countrywide, with the compounding factor being the new strain which is more infectious and virulent.
“While a trend of some decline in infections and deaths had been recorded as a result of the lockdown measures currently in place to contain the outbreak, it is imperative that the country accelerates the acquisition of vaccines in order to halt a potential third wave.
“In that regard, Cabinet endorsed the following key guidelines : (a) that Zimbabwe’s vaccination programme, in particular the choice of vaccines, needs to be science-based, with adequate research and findings guiding decision-making and course of action; (b) that Zimbabwe will take decisions independently in the national interest, without undue influence; (c) that the vaccination programme shall be undertake in a structured manner, with groups such as the health frontline workers being accorded first priority,” said senator Mutsvangwa.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccination programme, senator Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Health and Child Care plans to vaccinate about 60% of the country’s population in order to achieve herd immunity (10 million people).
“A development plan mapping the priority groups for roll-out of the vaccine has already been developed. Already, Government has set aside US$100 million for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. Treasury will continue to ensure funding for procurement of other medical supplies including medicines and PPE in the fight against the COVID-19.
“In terms of vaccines procurement, the Government of the People’s Republic of China extended a donation of 200 000 SINOPHARM COVID-19 vaccine doses. The donation and initial batch purchased are expected in Zimbabwe by 15 February 2021 and the first week of March, 2021, respectively. The 76 to 86 per cent efficacy of the SINOPHARM vaccine was endorsed by the World Health Organisation.”
Meanwhile, government says efforts to procure other COVID-19 vaccines such as the Sputnik V (Victory) from Russia, among others was underway.
“India, like China, has also offered a donation and an option to purchase commercially and modalities for this offer are still being worked out. Zimbabwe has also submitted its expression of interest to participate under the AU COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. The private sector will also support Government through a formula that them to keep 50% of what they procure for their employees
“The COVID-19 Vaccines will be administered to citizens freely. The initial consignment will cater for frontline workers, the elderly and other vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe. The administration of the COVID-19 vaccinations in Zimbabwe will be on a voluntary basis,” said minister Mutsvangwa.