By Nokuthaba Dhlamini
Opposition leader Douglas Mwonzora has urged the government to make Covid-19 vaccines available in Zimbabwe’s poor communities for the fight against the pandemic to be effective.
Mwonzora, the MDC-T leader, spoke at the official launch of Zimbabwe’s second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in Victoria Falls on 24 march 2021.
He said the vaccine must be readily available in farming communities and in high density suburbs.
“We call upon the government, especially the Ministry (of Health and Child Care) to make sure that this vaccine goes to the poor people as well,” Mwonzora said.
“We appeal that this vaccine is made available to the high-density suburbs, the rural areas and the farming communities.
“We also urge the government to ensure that it procures enough vaccines for everybody. We must never make Covid-19 vaccines a class issue.”
Zimbabwe, which launched its Covid-19 vaccination programme last month, aims to vaccinate 60 percent of the population or 10 million people to achieve herd immunity.
The first phase of the vaccination programme targeted front line workers such as health workers and border officials while the second phase focuses on the elderly, teachers, and members of the judiciary, among others.
This comes amid concerns of slow uptake of the vaccine among health workers, which was blamed on misinformation and lack of trust.
Mwonzora encouraged fellow opposition leaders to help bust myths around the vaccines among their supporters.
He said it was high time Zimbabweans worked together to tackle common problems.
“We have changed the way to do things,” Mwonzora said.
“We now want politics of tolerance and to work together, putting the people of Zimbabwe first.
“We don’t want politics of rancour, hate and intolerance.
“As leaders of the opposition we should work for the betterment of the economy, to save our people and support the vaccination programme.
“I call upon all political leaders to get vaccinated as these vaccinees are safe.
“It is irresponsible to incite people not to get vaccinated.”
The government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been criticised for its lack of information on the efficacy of the approved vaccines being made public.
A Zimbabwe Christian Alliance survey carried out last month revealed that 75 percent of the respondents were reluctant to take the vaccines because they lacked information about the safety of the vaccines.
Health experts, however, say the Chinese vaccines approved for use in Zimbabwe – Sinopharm and Sinovac – are safe.