HARARE – Human rights and political activists have condemned Monday’s announcement by government that the Covid-19 vaccine will only be availed to government ministers, legislators, soldiers, police, health workers and other top government officials.
The position was disclosed by the head of monitoring and evaluation in the health ministry, Robert Mudyiradima, when he appeared before the parliamentary portfolio committee on health.
“The vaccine might not be enough and there will be a group that will be prioritised such as frontline workers, ministers, MPs and members of the security sector,” he told legislators.
Mudyiradima’s revelations have drawn the ire of human rights, civic society, and political activists.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said government’s plan to exclude ordinary Zimbabweans from accessing the vaccine was “shocking”.
“The move to sideline ordinary Zimbabweans who cannot access medical care in light of the economic rot in the country amounts to a silent genocide,” the group’s spokesperson Marvellous Kumalo said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 1,000 lives, has largely affected ordinary Zimbabweans; most of whom are living far below the Poverty Datum Line and cannot afford medical care.
“It is a known fact that over the years, Zimbabwe’s health sector has been in the intensive care unit and ordinary Zimbabweans have had to bear the brunt of a failed health care system.”
MDC Alliance treasurer David Coltart said he was not surprised the decision taken by the government.
“Cabinet ministers will get the Covid-19 vaccine first in Zimbabwe. No mention of the elderly or vulnerable. No mention of teachers so that children can get back to school. If true it doesn’t surprise me. Zanu PF are only interested in self-preservation.”