By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Zimbabwe took delivery of 2 million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine from China as government battles to lessen shortages amid surging infections. Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro were on hand to receive the jabs.
Ncube said Zimbabwe set aside US$100 million for the purchase of vaccines of which US$40 million has so far been used. Yesterday the country reported 2,264 new cases and 34 deaths amid fears that the country has been gripped by the third wave of the deadly virus.
“Our current budget on vaccines acquisition is US$100 million which we have set aside. So, what we do is when we procure a vaccine we draw down from that account.
“Right now, cumulatively, we have spent about US$40 million and what is left naturally is 60 million. If in another few months we find that we need more than US$100 million, we will make the necessary top up of resources,” Ncube said.
Zimbabwe has allowed private players to commercialise vaccination and allowing foreigners to pay if they want to receive jabs in Zimbabwe. This comes after the country’s vaccination programme was praised by many in the region including South African opposition leader Julius Malema.
Ncube said: “The Ministry ought to receive that money. I will just check how much has come into coffers but we ought to receive that money because we just said for the ordinary Zimbabwean the vaccine is free. So far only foreigners have been paying as per modalities we put in place but I will check to see how much has been collected so far.”
So far the vaccination update says that 11 425 people received their first doses yesterday bringing cumulative totals for the first dose to 819 058 while 4 765 received their second dose bringing cumulative totals for the second dose to 579 699. Nehanda Radio