ZIMBABWE kicked off the COVID-19 vaccination programme on 18 February, 2021, aiming to protect its citizens. The vaccine is open to all aged 18 and above and is accessible free of charge. Citizens must check with their nearest health facility to see where they can access the vaccine in their neighborhood.
Like all new innovations, the pace was slow at the beginning. As at April 16, 2021, a total 35 806 people had been vaccinated, with the protection programme gathering momentum, 135 new local infections from a cumulative infection of 37 699, of this, 1552 have died, making the death rate very high.
Currently, 20 000 people are now getting the protection jab daily. However, this is not good enough, the pace needs to quicken to cover more people under the protection umbrella.
While the vaccine itself cannot give you the virus, it boosts the immune system to be able to fight infection in case of infection.
The Sinopharm vaccine, the Sinovac, both from China and the Covax from India, like all other global vaccines will not be 100% effective at preventing the virus entirely, for that reason, vaccinated people still require to observe prevention in masking up, sanitizing and observing social distancing when in public, as not everyone is vaccinated.
Currently the three mentioned vaccines are now available in Zimbabwe with the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia expected to be the fourth MCAZ approved vaccine to be used in Zimbabwe.
Dr Tinashe Gede was sensitizing the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, (ZINEF) and health journalists on efficacy of vaccines on Friday, at the HIFC Science Cafe in Harare.
Those who receive the vaccine are far less likely to be hospitalised or die when infected with COVID-19,” said Dr Gede.
“Their chances of getting infected are greatly reduced as compared to one none vaccinated. If infected, the vaccine is able to fight off the infection and at times the infected does not suffer severe disease nor requires hospitalization and no death. Some infected can be asymptomatic,” he said.
Dr Gede stressed the need to have as many eligible people get vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.
“We are very far from reaching herd immunity. As you know, under 18s do not get vaccinated, our population is young, so achieving herd immunity is not possible currently.”