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Scramble for Covid-19 vaccines in Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
23 May 2021 at 07:30hrs | Views
HOSPITALS and clinics in Bulawayo are now only inoculating people seeking their second dose of Covid-19 vaccines as the high uptake has seen the city run out of jabs.

The city has seen an increase in the number of people seeking the vaccines following the announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that sinopharm, one of the vaccines being administered in the country has been endorsed by the world health body. The awareness campaign rolled out by Government has also been effective in getting locals to take up the jabs, health experts have said. As of 16 May, 65 836 people had been given their first dose, while 30 281 people had received their second dose in Bulawayo. The numbers have since increased, with officials saying they were attending to about 2  000 people daily, although officials could not readily avail the collated updated figures.

Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo confirmed that Bulawayo was last week only attending to people coming for the second dose.

"Yes, it is true that we have run out of vaccines as Bulawayo Metropolitan Province and that is why we have been giving it to people who are coming for their second dose. Right now, we have appraised our head office of the situation obtaining and we have been promised that we should be getting more vaccines within the next (this) week or so," he said.

Dr Mlilo said the city "was a victim of its own success", as a high uptake of the vaccines had seen them exhaust supplies earlier than they had anticipated.

"We have run out because the vaccine uptake in Bulawayo Metropolitan was very good. You will notice that almost on a daily basis we averaged around 2  000 to 2 500 vaccinated people daily. Such numbers were always going to pose a threat to our supplies," he said.

Bulawayo City Council Director of Health Services, Dr Edwin Sibanda said they had been promised more vaccines from other provinces where there was a surplus of vaccines.

"We have been told that we might be getting some vaccines from Midlands and Manicaland where there is a surplus of vaccines. The Ministry is still verifying and after that they will get back to us. That was the last comment we received as of last night (Friday)," he said yesterday.

With the city set to roll out a vaccination drive for human papilloma virus (HPV), typhoid and polio on Monday, Dr Mlilo said that they hoped the vaccination drive would maintain its momentum despite the fact that health practitioner's attention would be focused elsewhere in the meantime. The city had initially targeted 200 000 people for Covid-19 inoculation.

"Our aim was to reach 200 000 people but that now since we have gone almost a week without vaccines, we will have to rebuild that momentum when we get them. The challenge we have is that we are starting another vaccination programme for polio, HPV and typhoid and this is starting on Monday. We were hoping that by the time we start this campaign we would have advanced further with the Covid-19 vaccination programme," he said.

However, Zimbabwe has taken a lead in the vaccination programme and President Mnangagwa on Friday commended citizens for embracing the Covid-19 vaccination programme. He said more vaccines were on their way so that every Zimbabwean who wants to be vaccinated is not denied the right. Over 900 000 people have so far received the first and second jabs.

The President said Zimbabwe was ahead of all mainland Sadc countries in terms of procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccines due to its top-rated national vaccination programme. Zimbabwe is targeting to reach 10 million people with vaccines to attain herd immunity. The President said over 600 000 people had received their first dose and over 300 000 people had received the second jab countrywide.

Source - sundaynews

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