By Debra Matabvu
An additional 600 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines procured by Government from Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sinopharm, will land in the country next week as authorities continue intensifying the country’s vaccination drive.
The first phase of the countrywide mass immunisation programme kicked off on Thursday using the 200 000 doses donated by China, which arrived in the country on Monday.
Most provinces had taken delivery of their share of vaccinations by yesterday afternoon ahead of the commencement of immunisation at district levels starting tomorrow.
Responding to questions in the National Assembly last week, Deputy Minister for Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro said Zimbabwe will now be receiving new vaccine consignments every fortnight.
“I am sure the Minister (of Health and Child Care, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga) said the next batch will come every two to three weeks. Definitely, the timetable is there,” Dr Mangwiro said.
“Wherever you are, if you watch the print media, you will see that every two weeks – for instance, at the end of this month, we are going to get about 600 000 doses of the vaccines and we will continue to get this.
“It is a continuous stage-by-stage process that is going on.
“We will try to make sure that every Zimbabwean is protected.”
Over 142 000 frontline workers will receive the first dose of the vaccine over 10 days during the first phase of the immunisation programme, while the second dose will be administered over a five-day period.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Mr Donald Mujiri told The Sunday Mail yesterday that distribution of the vaccines to all local immunisation centres has been seamless.
“Vaccines have been dispatched to all provinces and districts, with vaccinations set to begin on Monday (tomorrow),” he said.
“We have not received reports of challenges yet, everything is going as planned and we are raring to go.”
VP Chiwenga launched the national vaccination programme in Harare on Thursday, and became the first local Zimbabwean to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The country is expected to receive additional vaccination doses from the African Union’s Global Fund Covax facility soon, while India has pledged to donate 75 000 doses, with an option for Zimbabwe to buy more.
Russia has also pledged to assist the country to secure more vaccines.
Government has set aside US$100 million to procure vaccines, with plans to inoculate 10 million people to achieve herd immunity. The Sunday Mail