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Zimbabwe's Covid-19 vaccinations exceed 100,000

by Staff reporter
03 Apr 2021 at 13:53hrs | Views
Zimbabwe has seen an increase in the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines over the past few weeks with the number of vaccinations now exceeding 100,000.

That may sound minute for a country chasing a 10 million target to achieve herd immunity, but observers say it is significant given the inoculation program's false start two months ago.

The first phase targeting frontline workers had many people, including healthcare personnel casting doubt on the Chinese Sinopharm jab as they questioned its efficacy and safety.

But the country has expanded its outreach under phase two since March 24, vaccinating the elderly, teachers, religious leaders, people with chronic diseases, and security forces, among other demographics.

It has also widened its vaccine choice after buying one million doses of Sinovac, also from China, and receiving a donation of 35,000 Covaxine doses from India.

Daily vaccinations have moved from an average low of 500 or so to several thousands, with 16,024 people getting their first shot on Friday, bringing the total of initial dose recipients to 103,815.

Those who have received a second and final shot grew to 20,938 after 3,422 immunizations, the ministry of health said in a daily update.

That means a total of 124,753 Zimbabweans, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, have now received some degree of protection from the respiratory pandemic which has since killed 1,524 people and infected 36,903 others.

Infections and deaths have remained impressively low in the last two straight months with just one fatality and 7 cases recorded on Good Friday.

Zimbabwe Doctors Association for Human Rights (ZDAHR) secretary-general Norman Matara attributed the upturn in vaccinations to "increased awareness campaigns and absence of perceived side effects and myths surrounding the vaccines."

Still, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a likely increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths across the world from an anticipated third wave, encouraging people to stick to protective measures including mask-wearing and social distancing.

"We're into our second year of the pandemic. There is a lot of frustration and fatigue out there wanting this pandemic to be over, but with transmission increasing, it's going in the wrong direction," said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO Covid-19 technical lead at the organization's headquarters in Geneva.

"This is far from over. We're not talking about a handful of cases here and there. We are still in the acute phase of the pandemic."

According to WHO, global cases climbed by 14 percent across last week – the sixth consecutive weekly increase – and deaths jumped for the third week in a row.

As of Saturday, the number of infections had breached 130 million Covid-19 while deaths had also surpassed 2.8 million.

Source - zimlive