Mutare says on course to Covid-19 herd immunity

By Kenneth Matimaire

Zimbabwe’s eastern border city of Mutare says it is on course to administering enough Covid-19 vaccines that would allow it to reach herd immunity.

Herd immunity is the a threshold at  which the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic would be regarded as manageable, according to the town’s official spokesperson. 

Data drawn from the City of Mutare’s Covid-19 Situation Update, indicates that 41,471 residents have received their first doses while 24,079 have received their second doses as at July 13, which represented 32.91 percent of the herd immunity target.

This was against the city’s target to vaccinate 126,000 residents to reach herd immunity.

Moreover, the available data highlights that 22% of the entire city urban population has been vaccinated out of more than 189,000 residents according to the 2012 census.

“We need 126,000 people to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity as a city. So if we look at the numbers, we are doing pretty well. It speaks to the support that we are getting from government in terms of vaccination kits. 

“Our numbers will not have been as they are, if we were getting less doses. So, we do appreciate the support. 

“Also, it shows that people are responding well to the government thrust of prioritising border areas. A lot of people have realised the detriment of Covid-19. The level of self consciousness has tremendously improved,” said Mutare City spokesperson, Spren Mutiwi

Mutare shares the border with Mozambique via the Forbes/ Border Post and has been identified by government as one of the several areas of priority in terms of vaccines distribution.

The local authority confirmed that both the first and second doses for Sinopharm and Sinovac are readily available at all council clinics and administered to people above the age of 18 years  except those pregnant or critically ill.

Mutare acting town clerk, Dr Anthony Mutara, is on record indicating that they have put in place a cocktail of measures to ensure that the eastern border city is ready for the imminent Covid-19 third wave.

These ranged from doubling efforts in the vaccination exercise and making use of media channels to encourage residents to get vaccinated, among others. 

While the city vaccinations exercise appears to be progressing well, the same could not  be said about the province, data analysis show.

At the time of writing, Manicaland Province had a total of 230,765 vaccines doses administered with 143,841 constituting  the first doses against a population of 1,753 million residents, according to the 2012 census. 

Data analysis highlights that this translated to a mere 8.20% of the provincial population vaccinated.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in its Sixth Edition of the Covid-19 Accountability Tracker attributed the low vaccination exercise in the province to unavailability of vaccines.

This, ZPP highlighted, had resulted in  overcrowding and long queues at centres where many people tend to walk away without receiving their jabs.

“There were cases in Mutasa North District, Manicaland Province, of non-availability of the second dose and overcrowded vaccination centres,” reads the report.

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