Africa Moyo and Rumbidzayi Zinyuke
Zimbabwe is now set to take delivery of almost one million vaccines per month to ensure the targeted herd immunity of 10 million people is achieved. The plan has received a major boost after DHL International offered to deliver the vaccines at concessionary tariffs.
This was said by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in a statement yesterday.
Government has mobilised US$100 million towards the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines to cover 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.
This week Zimbabwe received 1 056 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines purchased from China.
The vaccines are being availed to Zimbabweans for free at designated vaccination centres.
Said Prof Ncube yesterday: “Going forward, the country will be receiving about 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines per month from additional purchases aimed at reaching the herd immunity target.
“We are further pleased to acknowledge an offer from DHL International for concessionary tariffs that the company has offered for the shipment of vaccine consignments under an arrangement that will ensure the timeous and safe delivery of vaccines to the country.”
Prof Ncube said Government acknowledges and appreciates the broad support so far received from the private sector and is committed to ensure that all the partnerships are deepened for the national good.
More vaccination sites have since been introduced across the country as part of efforts to decentralise the process and decongest existing service points.
Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital, which has been the main vaccination point in Harare, was this week overwhelmed as more people went to be vaccinated.
As a result, vaccination sites have been increased to 24 as part of efforts to ensure every citizen has access to the jab.
The new centres, which started operating yesterday, include Parirenyatwa Central Hospital, Mbare Polyclinic, Sunningdale Satellite Clinic, Highfield Polyclinic, Southerton Satellite, Mufakose FHS, Kuwadzana Polyclinic, Warren Park Polyclinic and Kambuzuma Polyclinic.
People can also get their vaccines at Mabelreign Satellite, Marlborough Satellite, Avondale Satellite, Belvedere Satellite Clinic, Mt Pleasant Satellite, Hatcliffe Polyclinic, Borrowdale Satellite, Highlands FHS, Mabvuku Satellite Clinic, Greendale FHS, Eastlea FHS, Sally Mugabe Central Hospital as well as Wilkins Hospital.
The decentralisation of vaccination sites will ensure that citizens get their vaccine at a centre nearest to them.
Earlier this week, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro said the Government had realised that the numbers of people coming to get vaccinated was increasing and this was causing congestion at Wilkins Hospital, necessitating the establishment of more service points.
He said the same will be done at all vaccination centres including in the rural areas where sites situated in clinics will be complimented by others at business centres and growth points.
“What we will do further is to increase the number of outlets so that we reach our (target) figures quickly. We will have fixed outlets so if there is a clinic, we might have another outlet at shopping centres to make sure that the people get their vaccines and we avoid long queues,” he said.
The number of people who have received the vaccine has been rising over the past two weeks to reach 76 995 on Wednesday. Those that have received their second dose are now 14 885.
Government has so far brought in 1,2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine purchased by Treasury from China to boost the donations of 400 000 vaccines donated from China.
India has also donated 75 000 Covaxin vaccines but 35 000 have since been delivered.
Treasury has already paid for more vaccines, which are expected to arrive in the country soon.
About US$100 million was set aside for the procurement of vaccines targeting 60 percent of the total population as the country fights to reach herd immunity.