SENIOR STAFF WRITER
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday encouraged Zimbabweans to get vaccinated against the lethal coronavirus.
This comes as Zimbabwe is expected to receive more vaccines this week, which will kick-start the second phase of the country’s national vaccination programme — which is targeting 10 million people by year end.
“Many of you have been asking, Is there a way out? Is there protection against Covid-19? Well, I’m here to tell you that you and I have a role to play in this fight.
“Covid-19 vaccines have been delivered to Zimbabwe. These vaccines help minimise the risk of infection and are being administered all over Zimbabwe free of charge.
“You and I need to defeat the disease. So, get vaccinated now. This is our stand against Covid-19. Together, we will conquer. Get vaccinated now,” Mnangagwa said in a video that was produced by the Information ministry.
This comes as Zimbabwe is about to finish its first phase of the vaccination programme which started with the inoculation of frontline workers at the beginning of last month.
So far, 36 359 frontline workers are said to have been vaccinated.
This also comes after former Health minister, Henry Madzorera urged authorities to ramp up awareness campaigns for coronavirus vaccines, to counter misleading social media conspiracy theories.
“It is imperative that the government prioritises raising Covid-19 vaccine awareness to address the worries and concerns that our people have.
“There is a need to reassure the nation that the vaccines are being checked for quality before being rolled out. The safety and effectiveness of these vaccines must be made clear to our population.
“We know that the evidence coming out of other countries that have vaccinated millions of people is that these vaccines are safe and effective,” Madzorera said recently in his weekly Covid-19 bulletin.
“It may be too early to conclude, but uptake of the SinoPharm Covid-19 vaccine is not encouraging at all, even among the frontline health workers.
“Less than two fifths of the expected numbers in phase one stage have been vaccinated so far in some provinces.
“We have also seen some religious leaders being hesitant to embrace the vaccine. This is a cause for concern because these are important influencers in society.
“We need to look at what is causing the vaccine hesitancy among our population. Since I was vaccinated, I have not experienced any discomfort or adverse effect so far,” Madzorera also said.
“There is a great need to communicate with the hesitant populations as a priority. We must understand both individual and community hesitation to be vaccinated.
“The reasons for hesitation must be addressed to achieve herd immunity. Vaccine hesitancy is not only confined to one individual or one community.
“It is both a countrywide as well as a worldwide problem, which has been worsened by social media,” Madzorera said further.
“Social media is full of anti-vaccination messages and conspiracy theories. If we do not have effective leadership that is trusted by its people then the people will turn to unreliable sources on social media.
“We do not doubt the effectiveness of the SinoPharm vaccine being rolled out but we are concerned by the lack of communication so that the average person is confident enough to take it,” he added.