THE Zimbabwean Cabinet yesterday announced that they were confident of reaching the herd immunity targets by end of this year at the back of increased vaccination figures.
By Michael Gwarisa
According to experts, for a country to attain herd immunity, between and 60% and 70% of the population should be vaccinated and according to Zimbabwean figures, at least 10 million people of the over 15 million total should be vaccinated for the numbers to be reached.
Briefing Journalists during a Post Cabinet Media Briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said vaccine availability had greatly in the past few weeks and so have the vaccination numbers.
The nation is advised that as of 24 August, 2021, a total of 2 382 359 people had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1 506 445 their second dose across the country. Given the current vaccination statistics, Cabinet is confident that herd immunity will be achieved by December 2021.
“The country has already acquired 13 million doses out of the 20 million required in order to achieve herd immunity. On the advice of scientists, the vaccination programme will also be extended to the 14 to 17-year age group,” said Sen Mutsangwa.
Zimbabwe has fully vaccinated slightly over 2 million people over the past six months since the vaccination program commenced.
Minister Mutsvangwa added that the Ministry of Health and Child Care will employ the a number of strategies in the rolling out of the vaccination exercise and these include expanding the engagement of the private sector; involving churches, universities and other institutions of higher learning; and accelerating outreach campaigns taking advantage of the Integrated Expanded Programme for Immunisation.
"To speed up the vaccination programme in Chitungwiza Town and help alleviate the shortage of health personnel, the Chitungwiza Municipality nursing staff has since been transferred to be part of the Ministry of Health and Child Care establishment."
Meanhwile, she said vaccination in border town hotspots and peoples’ markets was ongoing, with the targeted population fully vaccinated, save for those at Renkini, Stanley Hall and Mutapa Market in Bulawayo and Gweru, respectively.
“The highest coverage of the first dose was recorded in Victoria Falls Town (97.8%), Chirundu (97.6%), Chiredzi (87.6%), Kariba (75.6%) and Nyamapanda (68.9%). The highest coverage for the 2nd dose was recorded in Victoria Falls (75.8%), Chiredzi (59.4%), Kariba (48.7%), and Nyamapanda (43.7%). Government also targeted and vaccinated people working on the following economic projects, namely: Hwange Energy project in Hwange; new Parliament Building in Mount Hampden and Gwayi-Shangani Dam Matebeleland North.”
She told Journalists that there was a 32% decrease in weekly cases from 3 761 during the week ending 15 August 2021, to 2 564 in week ending 23 August, 2021. The areas which recorded the most significant numbers of new cases were Manicaland Province (429), Harare Metropolitan Province (385), Mashonaland East Province (311), Masvingo Province (274), and Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (265).
“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that there are enough supplies of essential COVID-19 testing consumables. Government will continue ramping up the supplies. The nation is being informed that new boreholes were drilled, while others were rehabilitated during the week under review. A total of 353 handwashing facilities were commissioned at public places, and 775 hygiene promotion sessions were conducted during the reporting week.”