ZIMBABWE now has 61 percent dominance of the new South African Covid-19 virus which spreads faster and has a higher fatality rate.
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This was revealed by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa at a Post Cabinet Briefing this Tuesday afternoon.
“Accordingly,the nation now needs to be more vigilant than before and adhere to Covid-19 prevention and control measures,” said the Minister.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday extended the Level four National Lockdown by a further two weeks as the nation continues with the fight against the pandemic. The country has also received the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from China which the minister revealed the vaccination programme is set to commence this Thursday.
“The vaccination programme commences on 18th February 2020, on a voluntary basis and will be free. The aim of the first phase is to vaccinate 22%, 18,4% under Phase 2; 18,4% under Phase 3, thereby yielding a vaccinated population of nearly 60% of the population,” she said.
On the vaccination priority list under the first phase are the country’s health workers, followed by health personnel in the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Defence Forces, the Prisons and Correctional Services, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Immigration, Agritex workers, persons who are over 60 years and other vulnerable groups.
The second phase of the vaccination programme will prioritise college and university lecturers and school teachers, while the rest of the population at low risk will be catered for under Phase 3.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the training of the trainers has commenced and the training is focusing on vaccine storage, communication, surveillance, vaccination, monitoring and evaluation and waste management.
She further revealed that vaccination will take place at fixed and outreach points, and will cover 10 days in the first round and 5 days in the second round.
“All persons vaccinated will be registered and advised when to report for the second dose. All the people who are given a first dose, are assured of a second dose. It must be noted that vaccination will be on a voluntary basis. There will be close monitoring and surveillance for any adverse reactions to the vaccines,” she said
The Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine has been used in countries such as UAE, Chile, Argentina among others. The country is also set to procure vaccines from Russia and India and Minister Mutsvangwa assured the nation that procurement of vaccines is an ongoing process in line with the set target.
“Research is also continuing to ensure that only suitable vaccines will be administered on our people,” she said.