WITH one month and 21 days to go, the Zimbabwean Government is optimistic it will meet the set deadline for herd immunity against COVID-19.
Latest vaccination figures showed 2 661 887 were fully vaccinated translating to 26, 6 percent of the 10 million needed to acquire herd immunity.
Among the strategies to reach the target of vaccinating 60 percent of the country’s population by year end, Zimbabwe wants to include youngsters aged 16 and 17 years in the vaccination drive. The vaccination of the 16-17 years age group using Sinovac was approved and recommended recently by medical experts and is expected to increase the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccines, The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro told journalists yesterday.
Dr Mangwiro said was going to increase the awareness campaigns on vaccines to ensure that more people went for their jabs.
“As a people, we need to get the herd immunity by year end and as Government we have strategies. We will go into schools and make them vaccination centres. Our population is mainly young people so we are going to go for them and we will be relying on the media as well to spread the word so that people get vaccinated.
“Most countries are already experiencing the fourth wave and people are dying so we want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” he said. “”We will go out talking to people to spread the word, going into schools, into churches, reaching out to the people who need to be vaccinated.
“More awareness is needed and we have put out mobile trucks and people to go into the communities so that we vaccinate all those who have not yet been vaccinated. It is something that needs a collective effort.”
He said this age group will be getting two doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
Speaking after the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said sub-national structures had been tasked to come up with initiatives to speed up the vaccination programme and get more people vaccinated to achieve herd immunity by year end.
“Pregnant and breast-feeding women can now be safely vaccinated
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care has put in place a detailed monitoring plan for the vaccination of pregnant and breastfeeding women as recommended by Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, in line with World Health Organisation guidelines,” she said.