CABINET has announced that rollout of the 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm Vaccine which arrived yesterday from China will commence on Thursday, 18 February, 2021.
The announcement also come at the back of revelations that there is now a 61% dominance of the new South African variant of the COVID-19 virus which spreads faster and has a higher fatality rate. This was revealed following results of the genomic sequencing recently conducted indicate that the type of COVID-19 virus that the nation had in 2020 has receded.
Briefing journalists during a pots cabinet media briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the vaccine would be taken on a voluntary basis.
Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that a consignment of 200 000 vaccines was received from Sinopharm on Monday, 15th February 2021 as a donation from the Peoples Republic of China. The vaccination programme commences on 18th February 2020, on a voluntary basis and will be free. The aim of the first phase is to vaccinate 22%, 18,4% under Phase 2; 18,4% under Phase 3, thereby yielding a vaccinated population of nearly 60% of the population,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.
She further added that the priority for the vaccine roll-out programme will be accorded to the country’s health workers, followed health personnel in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Defence Forces, and the Prisons and Correctional Services. The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Immigration and Agritex workers will also be prioritised under Phase 1. Persons who are over 60 years and other vulnerable groups will also be targeted under the initial phase.
Phase 2 will encompass college and university lecturers and school teachers, while the rest of the population at low risk will be catered for under Phase 3.
“Cabinet further wishes to assure the nation that training of the trainers has already commenced. Training is focusing on vaccine storage, communication, surveillance, vaccination, monitoring and evaluation and waste management. Vaccination will take place at fixed and outreach points, and will cover 10 days in the first round and 5 days in the second round.
“All persons vaccinated will be registered and advised when to report for the second dose. All the people who are given a first dose, are assured of a second dose. It must be noted that vaccination will be on a voluntary basis. There will be close monitoring and surveillance for any adverse reactions to the vaccines. Cabinet also wishes to assure the nation that procurement of vaccines is an ongoing process in line with the set target. Research is also continuing to ensure that only suitable vaccines will be administered on our people.”
She also said public-private partnerships were being co-ordinated by the Ministry of Finance and Development. The total estimated operational budget for COVID-19 vaccination over all the phases is US$6 778 777.00. Many well-wishers including the Governments of India, China, and the Russian Federation are supporting Zimbabwe’s vaccine programme.
“As stated last week, Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that the approach to the vaccine issue is based on science and continuing research. Vaccines are being sourced from manufacturers, through multiple financing arrangements. Vaccines are registered by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, in terms of Section 75 of the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act.
“A committee is implementing vaccine vigilance plans to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine consignments are physically verified for the implementation of safety measures.”