Features, Health and Society Editor
Zimbabweans have welcomed the news that Covid-19 vaccines that Government is procuring with the assistance of international partners and friendly nations would be distributed to citizens for free.
Clarifying the government position following his comments that had been taken out of context, Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube in a statement said: “I would like to make it clear that the vaccine that the Government is procuring with the support of our international partners and friends will be made available for free to the citizens of Zimbabwe.”
Following the news, Whatsapp groups and other social media platforms were ablaze with responses.
Welcoming the news with a sigh of relief, Mrs Martha Masiiwa of Norton said: “This is the best news I have heard this whole week. I am anxiously waiting to be vaccinated and was quite upset when I thought I would pay for the vaccine.”
She said she hopes her entire family, especially her mother in law who is 85 years and suffers from diabetes is vaccinated early.
Martha Moyo of Warren Park 1 in Harare said once the vaccine comes, she will ensure her family is vaccinated.
“What’s now left is for us to be vaccinated once the vaccines come. I also hope my fellow Zimbabweans will continue to wear their masks even after being vaccinated. We need to continue protecting each other,” she said.
Mr Brighton Madamombe of Mabvuku said he is happy that the vaccine will be administered for free.
“This will ensure everyone is protected. Protecting every member of society results in fewer cases of Covid-19 if we also practice other safety measures like washing hands and wearing masks, social distancing and cough etiquette,” he said.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has already used its experience and procedures from previous vaccination drives for other diseases to set up the required programme to roll-out Covid-19 vaccinations as soon as the vaccines arrive.
The Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the ministry, Dr Portia Manangazira, last week told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care that the national Covid-19 vaccine readiness assessment had been done and the Ministry came up with a deployment strategy that would be used once the programme began.
She said Government had adopted existing vaccination programmes for other diseases in their study.
“I am happy to say as a country we have a very robust immunisation programme and the ministry through the Expanded Programme on Immunisation has conducted a national readiness assessment for the Covid-19 vaccine and we have also come up with a Zimbabwe Covid-19 national deployment and vaccination strategy,” said Dr Manangazira.