THE Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Guo Shaochun says the uptake of the Sinopharm Vaccine in Zimbabwe was impressive and with more support, Zimbabwe could defeat the coronavirus menace early.
By Michael Gwarisa
His response comes hot on the heels of recent reports that the vaccine was getting low uptake even amongst front-line health workers who were initially targeted during the first phase of the vaccination program. To date, more than 35,000 Zimbabweans have been vaccinated from the 200,000 doses Zimbabwe received from China in February.
Responding to questions during a virtual handover event of medical equipment and commodities to the Government of Zimbabwe by Government of China that was hosted by the UNFPA, Ambassador Guo Shaochun said 35,000 was not a bad number but rather encouraging and shows that Zimbabweans are warming up to the national vaccination call.
I would like to reiterate that the Chinese Vaccine no matter it is the Sinopharm or Sinovac, they are all very safe. If you check the vaccination programme in China and elsewhere the vaccines have been taken, so far they are nearly 60 million people who have received the vaccination of the Chinese Vaccine.
“We are also very confident that there will be more successful vaccine corporation between our two countries. We are impressed by the rollout of the Zimbabwe national vaccination program and so far, there are more than 35,000 people who have received that injection and this is a very good beginning and we believe with more support from China and from the other international partners, Zimbabwe will achieve the success in its national vaccination program, ” said Ambassador Guo Shaochun.
Zimbabwe commenced its national rollout of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine in February and according to government, the rollout will follow a systematic and phased approach which started with front-line workers from the health sector, immigration department, media, parliament among other before it moves to other sections of society.
Meanwhile, Dr Wenceslas Nyamayaro Chief Director Preventive Service in the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC)said the vaccine had been tested and proven to be safe even for pregnant women but there were certain stages of pregnancy where women should not take vaccines.
“These vaccines have been tested in other countries and our won scientists have approved the use of these vaccines in the country. So it is safe. However, there is a criteria to use these vaccines. There are other people who should not use them.
“If you say pregnant mothers, there are certain stages of pregnancy where you don’t use these vaccines and most health workers know when to or not to use these vaccines on pregnant mothers. At the moment, we have been targeting front-line workers health and other front-line workers in other departments and i can say 35,000 is a good number and going forward, we want more people to take the vaccine as we go and vaccinate the general populace,” said Dr Nyamayaro.
He said the vaccination program had already covered a third of initial target and added that they expect more citizens to come on board in the coming phases of the vaccination program. Zimbabwe is set to receive another batch of 200,000 vaccines from China soon and another 75,000 from India.