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Bulawayo rolls out jabs for all adults

by Staff reporter
12 Jul 2021 at 06:37hrs | Views
BULAWAYO Province is today expected to start mass vaccination of all adults. The jabs will be accessed at all council clinics and hospitals across the city as the country received two million Sinovac vaccines last Thursday from China. An additional 4,5 million vaccines are expected before the end of September.

From the vaccines that were delivered last week, Bulawayo and Harare were allocated 100 000 doses each while eight other provinces will each get 50 000. Bulawayo is targeting to inoculate 400 000 residents to achieve herd immunity while Matabeleland North is aiming to vaccinate 450 000.

On Tuesday, Bulawayo rolled out a vaccination exercise targeting 15 000 informal traders within 10 days and vaccinated more than 7 000 vendors in four days. The provincial leadership has expressed satisfaction with the way the vaccination programme has been taken up by residents. Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Councillor Mlandu Ncube yesterday urged residents to embrace the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"We need to get vaccinated and shun messages that are circulating on social media platforms discouraging people from being inoculated. As the city's deputy mayor, I was vaccinated three months ago and have never experienced any negative side effects. I'm still strong and I conduct my usual activities without any challenges. As Bulawayo, we know that most of us are not formally employed meaning we are involved in a lot of trading. In trading we interact with a lot of people so we need to get vaccinated to protect ourselves from being exposed to the virus," said Clr Ncube.

MDC-A Luveve MP Mrs Stella Ndlovu, has heeded President Mnangagwa's message that legislators should educate their constituencies about the pandemic. In an impassioned plea that is circulating widely on social media she said: "Let us protect ourselves and our families by getting vaccinated.

"The country recently received 500 000 doses and last week we got another two million vaccines. Government is making efforts to ensure that we have more mobile centres which are accessible to the people.

"Last week people crowded some of the vaccination centres in the city such as City Hall and Renkini. These are some of the issues that are being addressed because crowds are super spreaders of the virus and Bulawayo has been declared a hotspot." Mrs Ndlovu urged residents to stay at home and avoid unnecessary movements to curb the spread of the virus.

"It is also important to note that Bulawayo hospitals are full and have run out of space for new admissions. People must observe lockdown regulations, especially youths and sadly only last week we lost a youth to Covid-19," she said.

"Covid-19 does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or gender. Let us also avoid public gatherings and in the case of funerals, let's maintain the stipulated number of 30 people. We can console bereaved families using cellphones."

Matabeleland North provincial Covid-19 taskforce which is chaired by Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema yesterday held a meeting to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the province at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo.

During the meeting, the Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said since the outbreak of Covid-19 to Saturday, the province had recorded 2 592 cases, 1848 recoveries, 716 active cases and 28 deaths. He said most cases were being recorded in Hwange followed by Binga, Umguza, Nkayi, Tsholotsho and Bubi. The provincial taskforce raised concerns over members of the public who were illegally entering the country.

Minister Moyo said border jumping was most common in Binga and Hwange districts and it might not be surprising that infections being recorded are coming from those places.

"We have so many people from Zimbabwe who are crossing the border to Zambia and vice versa. A lot of Zambians are spending daytime in Binga and crossing over to their country in the evening and this is the same with our people. So, the issue of porous borders is of concern to us. We need to educate our people of the need to stay at home," said Minister Moyo.

Minister Mathema said porous borders was a serious problem for the whole country and is contributing to the rising Covid-19 infections.

"We have a national challenge with illegal crossing points. Places such as Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central have attributed the increase in Covid-19 to the issue of border jumping. It is important that we engage our chiefs and village heads to discourage people from illegally crossing the border and also our security officials should increase their surveillance operations," said Minister Mathema.

Tsholotsho North MP Major-General (Retired) Sibangumuzi Khumalo said the issue of border jumping was complex and the only solution is to increase Covid-19 awareness in communities. He said the deployment of security officials might not be helpful as border jumpers are calculative and would always come up with new entry points that may not be covered by security officials.

Matabeleland North Acting Provincial Medical Director Dr Munekayi Padingani said the province was targeting to vaccinate about 450 000 people to achieve herd immunity. He said the province would embark on mass vaccination upon receiving 50 000 doses that have been allocated to it after last week's delivery from China.

"Last week we received 15 000 doses that we have distributed to all our districts. We were expected to have delivered some of the vaccines to Hwange Local Board but we are yet to do so. We will do so tomorrow as we experienced logistical challenges. Most of the cases we are recording in Hwange district are in the Hwange Local Board and a few from Victoria Falls," he said.

"However, we are facing a lot of challenges, we don't have enough fuel to carry out our vaccination programmes. The province does not have fully equipped isolation centres and we have human resource challenges as some of our staff are leaving the health sector."

In Matabeleland South, the provincial Covid-19 taskforce expressed concern over non-compliance to prevention measures. Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, who is the chairperson of the provincial taskforce said Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who is also Health and Child Care Minister has raised a concern over violation of lockdown regulations in the province.

"Vice-President Chiwenga recently reported that Matabeleland South is becoming a problem when it comes to funerals. We are not observing protocols and we find in some instances traditional leaders telling people that funerals are tradition and people should not be hindered from attending them. It was noted with great concern that as a province we are not taking regulations seriously," said Minister Ndlovu.

He said the public should accept that Covid-19 has brought about changes and communities should also change if they are to survive the pandemic.

"Please note that when a corpse is being transported there has to be one person in the vehicle who is the driver and the body should be buried on the very same day and the vehicle has to go back. Body viewing is prohibited. Let us have the family confirm the identity of the body while it is still at the mortuary. As leaders let's take this information back to our communities so people are fully aware of what the law says," he said.

Minister Ndlovu applauded Matabeleland South Province for recording an improvement in the vaccination figures which he said had remained low for several weeks.

Source - chronicle
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