All necessary safety measures will be taken before rolling out Covid-19 vaccines, National Covid-19 taskforce coordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva has said.
In an interview with our Bulawayo Bureau, Dr Mahomva reassured communities, religious groups and the rest of the nation that Government was dedicated to ensuring that whatever treatment or prevention was safe for everyone.
“The Government will never plan on providing something that will damage communities and individuals. That is not what Government is there to do,” said Dr Mahomva.
“So, quite clearly, as we move forward with the surge, we will continue with our communication blitz on different aspects of our response whether it’s management or taking care of patients in hospitals or whether it’s the issues of vaccines.
“We will continue to do our best to give the right information because we are very aware that we are literally competing with social media which tends to give out such misinformation.”
Dr Mahomva said Zimbabwe was guided by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe that always tested the medicine used locally.
“We are also guided by international or global science and for that we tend to depend on the World Health Organisation (WHO) because WHO gathers all the science globally and then provides guidance on how countries can actually conduct treating or vaccination,” she said.
“At the end of the day as Zimbabwe, the priority is that whatever is used for treatment or prevention, it’s safe for the nation.”
Dr Mahomva’s remarks came as Zimbabwe and the rest of African countries can now start making pre-orders for Covid-19 vaccines on the Africa Medical Supplies Platform #AMSP,amsp.africa, following the securing of 270 million doses by the African Union (AU) through the African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
African Union chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the securing of vaccines by the continental bloc on January 14.
The Afreximbank will provide procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to manufacturers and member States will then pay for their purchases using either their internal resources or an Afreximbank instalment payment facility of up to five years.
“The AMSP single source platform enables faster, more transparent and cost effective access to Covid-19 supplies, and offers equitable access to the vaccines for the 55 member States of the African Union,” said the AMSP in a statement on Tuesday.
AVATT has secured a provisional 270 million Covid-19 vaccines doses from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, and the AMSP opened pre-orders on Tuesday.
“These are historical times. For the first time in history, Africa has secured access to millions of vaccine doses in the middle of a pandemic as most of Western countries,” said AU Special Envoy Dr Strive Masiyiwa.
“There is still a huge shortage of vaccine doses and that is why this continental collaboration has designed a fair allocation coupled with timely and equitable access of Covid-19 vaccines across the continent.”
Afreximbank president and chairman of the board of directors Professor Benedict Oramah said: “Our vaccine financing facility builds on the success of our Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) to open access to Covid-19 vaccines to African States based on a whole-of-Africa approach favoured by the African Union.
“By providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to candidate vaccine manufacturers, Afreximbank will ensure that African States are able to rapidly access Covid-19 vaccines, at competitive prices and in a timely manner thereby contributing to saving lives and livelihoods.”