By Zvamaida Murwira
The first phase of the national vaccination programme against Covid-19 will cost US$1,3 million as Government is determined to ensure no one is left out, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has said.
He said Government will reach all places in Zimbabwe and urged legislators and community leaders to play an active role in raising awareness.
VP Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care Minister, said this yesterday in Senate while giving a Ministerial Statement on the update of national vaccination against Covid-19 roll-out programme.
Stage One of the vaccination programme will require about US$1,3 million.
“We have got the health workers for vaccination; Ministry of Health and Child Care, 49 000 and all these we will vaccinate them.
“Defence and security starting with Zimbabwe Defence Forces 4 000 and they have 3 000 plus, of their health workers who are the ones who will be vaccinated.
“The police have got plus 500 health workers who will be vaccinated. The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service will be vaccinating over 700 health workers,” said VP Chiwenga.
“Besides, these we will be vaccinating all members of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and our immigration workers who we term the frontline workers.”
Total cost of all the three phases has been estimated at US$6,7 million.
VP Chiwenga said Stage 2 will be for those in vulnerable groups such people with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and TB so that they do not get the virus.
The elderly population of people who are 60 years and above, the prison population and confined settlements like refugee camps, among others, will be considered under Stage Two, as they are likely to get the disease because of staying together in huge numbers.
Stage Three will be constituted of people considered to be low risk.
VP Chiwenga and his deputy Dr John Mangwiro briefed Senators on various issues concerning the vaccination programme including distribution and storage mechanisms, budgets, training of personnel and safety of the vaccines.
Senators also got an opportunity to pose questions aimed at enriching their knowledge about the pandemic and vaccination roll-out programme.
VP Chiwenga said they will reach all places to offer free vaccination to willing citizens.
He said this in response to Manicaland Senator, Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T), who had asked about the measures being put in place to ensure the poor have access to the vaccine.
“The vaccine will be administered freely. We will make sure that everybody who needs the jab gets it. It is not about them coming to us, but it is about us going to them,” said VP Chiwenga to rousing applause.
He also castigated some journalists who are abusing social media by spreading malicious statements, and called on them to observe the law.
He called for greater collaboration among Zimbabweans, community leaders and legislators in the fight against Covid-19.
“We expect to work together, kuita chirwiraingwe because this disease is not discriminatory. It can be you or even myself,” said VP Chiwenga.
He said more vaccines will be coming regularly so that the programme does not stop. The Herald