Proper planning key on vaccination

On Tuesday 701 got their first dose while 4,137 got the second jab as Zimbabwe battles a vaccine dose shortage.

This has seen some people being turned away while those due for the second dose have been told there are no stocks.

This shortage has soiled what was turning out to be an efficient phased vaccination programme especially after government opened it to anyone above 18 years.

Zimbabwe has given authorisation to four vaccines –Sinopharm, Sinovac, Covaxin and Sputnik-V.

It has not authorised the use of the famed Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca which some would prefer to the approved quartet.

The buck stops with the government. It did not anticipate the increased demand for vaccination especially during winter and moreso after the World Health Organisation approved Chinese vaccines—Sinopharm and Sinovac—for emergency use.

There have been promises and lies surrounding the procurement of the vaccine. In April, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said Zimbabwe would be importing a million doses end of that month, May and June. It is clear that the million doses monthly were not procured.

What is galling for those that can’t get the jab is that Zimbabwe turned away the opportunity to procure Johnson and Johnson vaccines due for August under the African Union Covid-19 vaccination programme which is supported by Afreximbank.

Zimbabwe said it was putting in place measures to establish the cold chain management framework for the vaccines as well as the management of the anticipated side effects following inoculation.

There are missteps that were made in the vaccination programme.

In April, the government said one was free to receive their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine anywhere in the country without prejudice. This means that clinics and hospitals cannot guarantee one of the second dose as the numbers fluctuate.

This has seen some citizens that are due for the second dose being turned away.

On Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post Cabinet briefing that the Ministry of Health and Child Care is redistributing existing stocks to ensure availability of the second dose.

Zimbabwe expects a batch of 500 000 doses of vaccine by June 15, Mutsvangwa said. While it is the duty of the government to make the vaccine available, citizens can make the job easier for policy makers by accepting the programme which ensures that government plans for that.

There has been resistance to the programme, emanating from fear of the unknown. As we have said before, it is the duty of the citizen to protect oneself against the pandemic as Covid-19 first strike a citizen.

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