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– Herald

THE Government is committed to achieving herd immunity against Covid-19 and procurement of the vaccines is on course, President Mnangagwa said.

This comes as the nation has so far vaccinated more than 1 million people as it pursues its target to have 10 million Zimbabweans vaccinated.

Presently, Zimbabwe is using Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines from China and Covaxin from India in the ongoing mass vaccination programme.

The choice of these vaccines has received a major boost after the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday approved the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use, giving assurance that the vaccine meets international standards for safety, efficacy, and manufacturing.

In his address to the Politburo yesterday, the President said as the cold weather descends, Zimbabweans must be ever vigilant against Covid-19, a disease that seemingly thrives in winter.

“Our national Covid-19 vaccination programme is on course and more vaccines will continue to be procured. The party must seize every opportunity at the grassroots level to sensitise communities on the importance of getting vaccinated.

“Now that we are in the winter season, I exhort the nation to exercise extreme caution to prevent the surge of Covid-19 cases.”

With the world still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe stands with other nations in the battle to subdue the pandemic.

“Zimbabwe stands in unity and solidarity with other countries in the community of nations who continue to experience immense distress as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Let me express once again my gratitude to the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, for the recent donation of 100 000 doses and related medical consumables from the People’s Liberation Army to our Zimbabwe Defence Forces. This will go a long way towards the attainment of the targeted herd immunity within the military and the nation as a whole,”

he said.

Zimbabwe is expecting 500 000 more vaccines from China this month to shore up stocks of the vaccines.

Currently, the country is leading southern African countries in terms of vaccine procurement and distribution. The country has purchased 1,2 million Sinovac doses which are currently being administered. Donations from the governments of China and India have also helped to boost the vaccination programme.

As at June 1, 678 003 people had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and 353 278 people had been fully vaccinated.

“The world desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequality across the globe. We urge manufacturers to participate in the Covax facility, share their knowhow and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control,”

said WHO assistant director for general access to health products Dr Mariangela Simao.

The approval of the Sinovac vaccine comes after the health body approved the use of Sinopharm vaccines last month.

The WHO emergency use listing assesses the quality, safety, and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, as well as risk management plans and programmatic suitability, such as the cold chain requirements.

Besides the two Chinese vaccines, the global health body has also listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca, Serum Institute of India, Janssen, and Moderna vaccines for emergency use.

Like the Sinopharm vaccine, the Sinovac is an inactivated vaccine suitable for use in adults aged 18 years and older. Vaccine efficacy results have shown that the vaccine can prevent symptomatic disease in 51 percent of those vaccinated and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalisation in 100 percent of the studied population.

The storage of the vaccines is also suitable for the available cold chain infrastructure in most developing countries, making them the best for countries such as Zimbabwe.

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