Government plans to vaccinate 10 million people against Covid-19 for free, as the health system battles to reduce the threat of the global pandemic.
Zimbabwe is expected to receive vaccines donated by The People’s Republic of China next week. While negotiations are ongoing with Russia for procurement of their Sputnik V. India has also promised to donate some vaccines and the country is also joining the African Union (AU) vaccination programme.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the plan last night after the first Cabinet meeting for this year.
“Regarding the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the Ministry of Health and Child Care plans to vaccinate about 60 percent of the country’s population in order to achieve herd immunity (10 million people),” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“A development plan mapping the priority groups for roll-out of the vaccine has already been developed.
“Already, Government has set aside US$100 million for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines. Treasury will continue to ensure funding for procurement of other medical supplies including medicines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the fight against the Covid-19.
“The Covid-19 vaccines will be administered to citizens freely. The initial consignment will cater for frontline workers, the elderly and other vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe. The administration of the Covid-19 vaccinations in Zimbabwe will be on a voluntary basis.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said while cases are falling, Cabinet had noted that it was imperative to accelerate the acquisition of vaccines to halt a potential third wave.
Some of the Cabinet endorsements on the vaccination programme include agreement on the choices of vaccines which need to be science-based.
“Zimbabwe will take decisions independently in the national interest, without undue influence. The vaccination programme shall be undertaken in a structured manner, with groups such as the health frontline workers being accorded first priority.”