Govt rolls out Covid-19 vaccination blitz
Rumbidzayi Zinyuke-Health Reporter
A Covid-19 vaccination blitz is starting this week in parallel with the second phase of the special polio vaccination campaign, so parents and older children can get their Covid-19 jabs when they take in their young children into a health centre for their polio drops.
Zimbabwe launched its national Covid-19 vaccination campaign on February 22 last year, making it one of the first African countries to roll out vaccines.
So far, a total of 6 571 865 people have received the first dose of the vaccine while 4 939 929 have received two shots and 1 247 243 have the booster shot.
But uptake of the vaccine has been very slow since early this year and especially in recent months, which worries public health experts who would like to see just about everyone over 12 vaccinated.
While Government has reiterated that there are enough vaccine doses to cater for the population, the pace of roll-out has considerably slowed down since early this year.
There are those who decline vaccination, especially after reading fake news on social media, and complacency following the low number of infections in recent months means that others just are not worried enough to make a special effort.
However, a slight increase in new cases that has been reported coupled with the upcoming festive season which might fuel an increase in infection, Government has decided to run another vaccination campaign.
“The Government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, will conduct a mass national Covid-19 vaccination campaign targeting all eligible persons aged 12 years and above during the period 1 to 31 December 2022.
“The vaccination campaign will be integrated with the polio vaccination in the first four days of December 2022 and then proceed as a standalone campaign until 31 December 2022,” Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary Dr Jasper Chimedza said.
“Considering the continuous transmission of infection as well as periodic surges in new cases, the country needs to strengthen prevention and control measures including vaccination.”
Treasury last year acquired more than 20 million doses of vaccines and another three million doses were received from the Government of China, one million of which were donated by the First Lady of China, to the First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa.
On December 1, the country recorded 30 new cases and one death. As of November 30, there were 31 hospitalised cases of which three were new admissions, three were asymptomatic 21 had mild to moderate symptoms with one severe case and six in Intensive Care Units.
Of the 31 hospitalised cases, 21 were vaccinated against Covid-19 and 10 were not vaccinated.
The polio campaign is a special extra effort to ensure there are high levels of immunity after a few cases in Mozambique and Malawi of a variant found in Pakistan.
The first round of the polio vaccination was rolled out on October 27 and the second round started on Thursday and will run till Sunday, targeting all children below five years of age regardless of vaccination status
The blitz includes door-to-door polio mobilisation and vaccination in all areas in addition to all the health facilities in the country which were administering the polio vaccine. Special mobile teams were also covering the hard-to-reach areas.