Zimbabwe

Covid-19 vaccination key to normalcy return: President

President Mnangagwa

Herald Reporter 

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said life can only return to normal if the majority of the country’s population is vaccinated against Covid-19, a pandemic that has claimed more than 1 000 lives in the country and turned lives up-side-down.

Under the new normal wrought by Covid-19, movement of people is restricted, while wearing of masks is mandatory along with other World Health Organisation (WHO) defined measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The WHO regulations also include maintaining social distancing and handwashing.

Presently, Zimbabwe is observing a level 4 national lockdown that was introduced last month in light of a surge in infections, which saw the number of deaths in the country rising.

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Although figures are going down, the Government has underscored the need to remain vigilant against the global pandemic.

To tackle the pandemic, President Mnangagwa has assured the nation that no resource would be spared to save the lives of Zimbabweans as Government sets the target of inoculating 60 percent of the country’s population to achieve herd immunity.

Vaccines are already coming in, with the first batch from China, that donated 200 000 doses with Government purchasing an additional 600 000 doses set to start arriving next Monday.

“Life can only return to normality once the majority of Zimbabweans have been vaccinated. This is the ultimate goal.

“Thank you to both China and Russia for their donation of Covid-19 vaccines to the people of Zimbabwe. Your generosity during this dark time will not be forgotten,” he said

Zimbabwe is expected to dispatch an aircraft to China no later than tomorrow to collect the Sinopharm vaccine.

On the other hand, Russia has donated sits Sputnik V vaccine, with negotiations ongoing for the procurement of more doses.

India has also promised to provide vaccines and Zimbabwe is expecting some vaccines through the African Union’s Covax facility

In a related development the world’s largest diamond producer, Alrosa, has also pledged to buy vaccines for Zimbabwe.

The Russian mining giant, which accounts for almost a third of the world’s rough diamond production, has a 70 percent stake in Alrosa Zimbabwe with the remaining 30 percent being owned by the Zimbabwean Government through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.

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Alrosa chief executive officer Mr Sergey Ivanov this week told international media that the company would buy and donate the Sputnik V vaccines to Zimbabwe and Angola.

Addressing the nation recently, the President said regardless of the challenges that have been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel as infections are coming down.

“Our overall National Response Strategy has reached a stage where we can now introduce vaccines as a second front preventive measure. As such, Covid-19 vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe, will soon be introduced. These will be State funded and free.

“The National Vaccination Strategy will continue to be guided by the best available scientific evidence and the safety of all Zimbabweans remaining a priority.

“A national vaccine deployment framework has also been finalised. The initial objective is to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population to achieve population immunity. The first phase will see our hardworking frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions being prioritised,” he said.

However, the President said the impending Covid-19 vaccination programme did not mean the nation should drop guard as the doses do not provide 100 percent immunity or mean immunity for the vaccinated.

HERALD