Zimbabwe Should Rethink Vaccine Deployment Strategy

ZIMBABWE has been urged to re-look its national vaccination distribution strategy in order to increase uptake and move close towards vaccinating at least 60 percent of the population.

By Michael Gwarisa

The country commenced vaccinating its citizens in March 2021 following a delivery of the Sinopharm doses from the Republic of China. Even though at first, there was vaccine hesitancy more people are now coming forward willingly to get vaccinated. However, there been reports of shortages of vaccines dosses across the country of late.

Immunologist and Medical Expert, Dr Tinashe Gede said in as much as Zimbabwe’s vaccination is being hailed across the region, locally the numbers have not moved in a manner that would guarantee the nation herd immunity in the shortest period of time.

There is no doubt that our vaccine deployment mechanism has to be accelerated and rethought and made to work a lot better,” said Dr Gede.

““As we speak in Zimbabwe, I think the net number of vaccines that have been administered is about a million vaccines and the people who are fully immunized is probably around 350,000. The number of people who are partially immunized or those who received one dose and haven’t received the second dose is around 600,000.”

He added that compared to the initial days of the vaccination, the number of those receiving vaccines have depleted heavily and reports that some people were missing their second dosses was not good for the national vaccination drive. He also said on a scale, 350,000 if compared to other African countries was a lot but when compared with the national goal of targeting to vaccinate between 60% and 70%, the numbers were still very low.

“Our population coverage rate is still less than 2% when you look at full immunization. If you said your goal was to vaccinate 70%, then it means we still have a long way to go and if are were going to follow the pace at which we have been going with regards to the national vaccination continuously, it will probably take us possibly another 20 years or so to get vaccinating 70% of the population.”

Zimbabwe is expecting at least half a million more doses of vaccines this week and the country also received 25,000 vaccine doses from Russia a week ago. To date, there are at least three classes of vaccines that have been approved for use the world over these include the Messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccines which were predominantly developed in North America (Mordena and Pfizer), Europe developed what are known as Viral Vector vaccines (Sputnik V, AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson that was made by the Americans) while South East Asia, China developed made inactivated vaccines (Sinopharm, Sinovac and the Indian COVAXIN).

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