Ex-Health Minister urges transparency on Covid vaccination data

By Alois Vinga

Zimbabwe’s former health minister, Doctor Henry Madzorera, has called for greater transparency around the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, including the publication of data on vaccine efficacy.  

The top physician, who is also secretary for health with the main opposition party, MDC Alliance, stressed the need for government to be in a position to share its own data on the efficacy of the vaccine considering the inoculated numbers.

“Are we using the correct vaccine in the face of these multiple mutations? After vaccinating so many now, we should by now be knowing for a fact the efficacy and safety of the vaccines in use in Zimbabwe,” he said in a commentary on the government’s Covid-19 containment programme.

“Stories of fully vaccinated health workers succumbing to Covid19 are most disconcerting. Is the vaccine working, Mr Government? 

The pace of vaccination must increase drastically if we are to save Zimbabwe, and we must use a vaccine that prevents infection or serious disease from the predominant variants currently in the country,” he said in a statement.

Madzorera said the reduced and inappropriate use of public health and social measures have also contributed to the obtaining problems.

Madzorera said  there is need to reinforce proper wearing of masks, social distancing, avoiding overcrowded indoor spaces, spending more time outdoors than indoors, improving ventilation, hand hygiene (frequent washing with soap and water, and sanitising), community surveillance, contact tracing, and isolation of positive cases for the prescribed period among other precautions.

“We have the Zupco buses that are too few and always packed beyond capacity. We have other churches holding major regional gatherings of thousands upon thousands of people with express government approval.

“We have a lockdown that is not working because people are poor and hungry. We must avoid all super spreader events,” said Madzorera.

However,  at the time Modzorera was demanding greater transparency and raising questions over the efficacy of the vaccines Zimbabwe is using, data released by the Health Ministry was showing that the pandemic’s prevalence in vaccinated people was quite minimal, while those who fell ill after vaccinations were not classified as serious.

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Doctor John Mangwiro, said the emerging positive cases that were recorded during the third wave peak in July, were mainly unvaccinated people from hotspots in Mashonaland West, Bulawayo and Manicaland. 

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