Zim must guard against complacency, says AHF



The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) says Zimbabweans should guard against complacency  as the country experiences a steady decline in Covid-19 pandemic infections, Business Times can report.

AHF country director, Ernst Chikwati, said complacency would undermine the gains  made so far.

He said the country was still far from danger.

Chikwati  encouraged people  to take up the vaccination so as to be protected from a possible 4th wave of the virus.

“We are not out of danger yet, not at all. If anything, the danger is there. It’s getting worse because we have relaxed . We say because the numbers have gone down but the numbers can go up anytime.

For instance, look at what happened last year the numbers had gone down around October, November but suddenly they went up in December because people relaxed,” Chikwati told Business Times.

He added; “ Let’s go for vaccination so that at least we can protect ourselves. As long as we don’t have herd immunity we should expect another wave. How it will start it’s different. It might be an issue of people coming in.”

Chikwati also said the government should convince Zimbabweans to be vaccinated.

Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate about 60% of the population, which is about 10m people of the total population for herd immunity to be achieved.

‘’ In Zimbabwe the vaccines are available and the government is doing its best to make sure that the vaccines are available but the biggest challenge is the issue of hesitation. There are certain things that are causing the hesitation, the myths, and the misconceptions, lack of information and lack of trust on the vaccine,” Chikwati said.

He said more should be done by the government to “try and see how best we can share information on the vaccine as it is the main cause of the hesitancy and attitude of the people towards vaccines”.

As of 18 October 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 132 405, with 126 487 recoveries and 4 659 deaths. The recovery rate remained at 95%, with the number of active cases standing at 1 259, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists at a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday.

The number of cases recorded on a daily and weekly basis continued to decline, with all provinces recording a decline in Covid-19-positive cases, indicating that the national response efforts continue to pay off and that the pandemic is being brought under control.

In efforts to ramp up the vaccination drive, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has dispatched a team to Chitungwiza City to raise awareness and encourage more people in Chitungwiza to take up the vaccine.

Vaccine hesitancy, fuelled by myths and false information, is particularly concerning in Zimbabwe. The country has so far extended the vaccination program to teenagers between the age of 14 and 17.

In December 2020, a misleading emerged claiming that Bill Gates-funded vaccine innovation to forcefully vaccinate Africans for the purpose of depopulation.

Some have a strong belief that the vaccines cause blindness or even infertility in females. These myths and also other misconceptions caused by a lack of information and education of the public has been marked as the major cause of people’s hesitancy to take up the Covid 19 vaccines.

It is against this background that AHF is calling for the government through the Ministry of Health  and Child Care to do more in the dissemination of information pertaining and Child Care to these vaccines so that the vaccine uptake can also improve and that the country can achieve herd immunity.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is expecting the country to deliver 5m syringes in November 2021 to complement the 13m Covid-19 vaccines that have so far been procured.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not represent those of the European Union or the International Media Support


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