IN the midst of a ravaging coronavirus pandemic, Zimbabweans have been called upon to take vaccination as a means of increasing their fighting chance against the virus and prevent infection and severe COVID-19 symptoms or death.
By Patricia Mashiri
Zimbabwe has been recording several daily deaths from COVID and the numbers have not been looking.
Speaking to Dr Prosper Chonzi, Harare Health Services Director said more people should opt for vaccination as the country’s death toll is not looking good. Vaccination protects people from getting critically ill, the need of the Intensive care and the risk of spreading it too is limited.
I’m happy that now the uptake of the vaccine has increased and clinics have been administering the jabs. We should be able to see the increase in uptake in the days. However, I urge more people to get vaccinated so that we reach heard immunity as quickly as possible.
“As city council we should continue with the vaccination in urban areas, then we go into provinces, all rural areas, institutions and communities. We want to do this early so as to reduce fatalities. As we speak the hospitalization is not convincing. Now vaccinations are there we should see an increased uptake in our population because currently the pace is slow. Vaccinations are also now being administered by private sector such that the general public have a wide choice of places of where to get the vaccination jabs,” Dr Chonzi said.
Meanwhile, Mr Itai Rusike, the Executive Director for the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) said the country should be able to reach heard immunity which is getting at least 10 million people vaccinated to be safe.
“If we are to reach herd immunity we need sustained COVID-19 literacy, need to make sure that there is strong partnership between the government and various stakeholders in the health sector to carry out education and awareness campaigns so that we can address the issue of information gap, vaccine hesitancy and scepticism so that a lot more Zimbabweans can embrace the vaccines.
“ It is also important to identify community leaders who can act as our champions whether they are traditional or religious leaders even Civil Society’s so as encourage their members and followers to embrace the vaccines.The general public needs to know that heard immunity works and we have very good examples that we see now especially in the western world where they procured enough vaccines to vaccinate huge populations in their counties,” said Mr Rusike.
He added that a good example is the just ended Euro 2020 soccer matches whereby stadiums were filled to capacity because those countries have fully vaccinated majority of their populations.
“As Zimbabweans if we are able to vaccinate 60% of our population we will also be able safe.”
The total cumulative number for the vaccinated people stands at 1144 397 for the first dose and 641 154 for the second dose as at 18 July 2021.