TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
Hordes of informal traders in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, this week embraced government’s vaccination initiative, turning up in their numbers, Business Times can report.
The programme was rolled out on Monday last week. And the response was overwhelming.
“The programme went well however the vaccine demand was high as it was an opportunity for vendors,” Bulawayo Acting Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo told Business Times.
He added: “ We gave opportunity to frontliners, we also gave the opportunity to teachers in different schools. So (last week )was just an opportunity for informal traders. As we have finished with them, we will move on to our next sub population.”
Dr Mlilo said they have started this week to vaccinate the general public which will see the city move closer to achieving its herd immunity.
Bulawayo is targeting to vaccinate at least 400 000 residents to achieve herd immunity amid soaring cases and deaths which have been experienced over the past few days.
Bulawayo Vendors Trust and Traders Association director Michael Ndiweni said vendors have embraced the vaccination programme.
“Of course the first day had challenges and some started late. Some were turned away because on the first day they were demanding licenses. Some traders were operating from privately owned markets where the owner of the property was the one who had a license so people who rented there didn’t have their own licenses.
“However, we are grateful that it was resolved. People welcomed the programme and it has been indicated that informal traders are frontliners who are boosting the economy,” Ndiweni said.
Meanwhile, Sitshengisiwe Siziba, the Senior Health Promotion Officer for Bulawayo City Council said the cases have been increasing every day urging residents adhere to the Covid-19 regulations even after being vaccinated and avoid being in congested places without ventilation.
Over the past month the country has been recording a sharp increase in new infections and fatalities as the effects of the third wave continue to be experienced. Bulawayo has since been declared one of the hot spots.