Covid-19 vaccination: Zimbabwe banks on private sector initiative

BY Nesia Mhaka 

The government says a private sector initiative to provide Covid-19 vaccines to employees will help Zimbabwe to ramp up its vaccination programme as more resources become available. 

Zimbabwe’s private sector Covid-19 vaccination initiative is a brainchild of business member organisations that include the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Council for Tourism and Zimbabwe National Chambers of Commerce.

The business sector will acquire the vaccines through the government and inoculations will be done at CIMAS clinics countrywide.

CIMAS will provide technical assistance for the initiative. 

Health and Child Care deputy minister, John Mangwiro, said the intervention by the private sector would accelerate the national vaccination programme.

“From the onset of the pandemic the private sector, represented by the business member organisations, has played an important role in complementing government’s efforts to combat this pandemic and ensure we have well equipped facilities to offer healthcare services to citizens affected by the novel coronavirus,” Mangwiro said at the launch of the initiative recently.

He added: “The private sector has supported the ministry’s Covid-19 testing initiatives, promoted and implemented the preventative and treatment protocols laid down by the ministry in line with the World Health Organisation guidelines and contributed to the equipping of both private and public health facilities to ensure they offer appropriate treatment to Covid-19 patients, who require it.  

“Indeed, the private sector has risen to the challenge and of its own volition joined in the battle to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and its effects on those infected.” 

Mangwiro said he was hopeful the initiative will help fight Covid-19 vaccination hesitancy among Zimbabweans.

“This latest initiative to take part in the national vaccination programme by offering vaccination at Cimas facilities and at various business firms is a welcome move,” the deputy minister said.

“It will help increase the pace of vaccinations and hopefully remove any doubts that those who have been delaying a decision on vaccination may have had.

“This should increase the speed with which the government vaccination programme will be implemented. 

“Moreover, the private sector Covid-19 vaccination programme demonstrates the faith that your organisations have in the vaccine, in the face of the myths, misconceptions and misinformation that are making some people hesitant to have the vaccination.” 

Emma  Fundira, the CIMAS board chairperson, said the medical insurance provider was ready to assist government in the fight against Covid-19.

“Cimas medical aid supported the fight to minimise the spread of the virus through information campaigns, making use of Ministry of Health and Child Care information to come up with posters and information campaigns,” Fundira said.

“We are indeed proud of the cooperation there has been between the private sector and government in the joint fight against the virus as we spared no efforts. 

“I would like to congratulate the government on the implementation of successful measures to establish a balance between protecting lives and protecting the economy.” 

She said the development of Covid-19 vaccines gave hope that the world could return to normalcy after over a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions.

“Worldwide there is a drive to vaccinate as many people as possible in the hope that herd immunity may be achieved and so slow down the spread of the virus,” Fundira added.

“We must commend our government for acquiring vaccines at a rapid rate and what remains is to persuade many people to be vaccinated.” 

As of May 19, Zimbabwe had 38,612 Covid-19 confirmed cases, including 36,416 recoveries and 1,583 deaths. 

At least 605,556 people had been vaccinated.

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