By Bernard Mpofu
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to be more vigilant in the fight against Covid-19 as temperatures plummet during the winter season amid fears of a third wave of the pandemic.
Mnangagwa told a recent Zanu PF politburo meeting that more people must be encouraged to take Covid-19 vaccines to prevent deaths.
“Our national Covid-19 vaccination programme is on course and more vaccines will continue to be procured,” he said.
“The party must seize every opportunity at the grassroots level to sensitise communities on the importance of getting vaccinated.
“Now that we are in the winter season, I exhort the nation to exercise extreme caution to prevent the surge of Covid-19 cases.”
Research shows that the virus thrives in cold weathers as people spend more time indoors. The coronavirus spreads through sneezing, coughs and contact with the eyes or mouth.
In recent weeks, some Zimbabweans have been struggling to get Covid-19 vaccines amid reports of widespread shortages.
The government, which has set a target of inoculating at least 60 percent of the country’s estimated 16 million people by year’s end, insists that the vaccines are available.
Some private players in the health sector are said to be taking advantage of the shortages to charge exorbitant prices for Covid-19 vaccinations.
Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga criticised the move and warned the private players to stop charging for the vaccines.
“If they are not ready to participate in the vaccination programme on terms and parameters set down by government, they are advised to look elsewhere for profitable services, not around vaccination,” said Chiwenga, who is also the country’s Vice President.
“It’s a no-go area for fortune hunters; those morally-depraved practitioners, who seek to fish in troubled times,” he added.
“Government policy is that of ensuring free vaccination for all citizens, who are ready and willing.”
As of June 8, only 688,696 Zimbabweans had been vaccinated against Covid-19.