By Nqobile Tshili
Cabinet has approved the start of the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination exercise and urged companies intending to buy vaccines for their employees to procure only those that are registered in Zimbabwe.
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has approved the use of Sinopharm and Sinovac from China, Covaxin from India and Russia’s Sputnik V for use in the country.
Two weeks ago, Government launched a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme targeting frontline workers after receiving a donation of 200 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China.
Frontline workers are covered in the first phase while vulnerable groups among them people with chronic illnesses such as cancer, TB and diabetes patients are covered in the second phase.
During a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 34 400 people were vaccinated countrywide in the first two weeks of the roll-out programme.
She said progress made in the initial stages of the vaccination programme has prompted Cabinet to approve the second stage.
The Minister said only registered medicines will be used.
“All those intending to procure vaccines for their employees must procure only registered vaccines in Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will be purchasing the vaccines on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.
“Cabinet would also like to unveil the guidelines for the procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccines by the private sector in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“Following wide ranging consultations with the private sector, the following guidelines will be followed: All Covid-19 approved vaccines will be procured through the National Vaccine Procurement Fund managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
“Organisations, individuals and any partners wishing to donate towards vaccine procurement will do so to the President through the Fund. Donations received and pledges made to date will be announced.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said those interested in buying vaccines for their workforce will deposit their funds into the National Vaccine Procurement Fund after approval by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
“The National Vaccine Procurement Fund will procure on behalf of the organisations guided by the national procurement guidelines. To ensure safety and efficacy, vaccines shall be kept at the Central Vaccines Stores under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Cold Chain guidelines shall apply.
Only trained and registered health professionals shall be authorised to administer vaccines, and only the Ministry of Health and Child Care shall be responsible for issuing all Covid-19 vaccination certificates.
“All vaccines administered at private institutions will be transported by Ministry of Health and Child Care medical staff under guard by the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” she added. The Herald