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Mass Covid-19 vaccination for Bulawayo

by Staff reporter
21 Apr 2021 at 07:00hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT says Covid-19 voluntary vaccinations for all people in Bulawayo and Harare will soon be intensified to achieve national herd immunity. Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care Minister, received the first jab in the country in February which was followed by the vaccination of front-line workers.

President Mnangagwa received his Covid-19 vaccination in the resort town of Victoria Falls last month where he also launched the Second Phase of the national vaccination programme. The Second Phase targeted residents of the country's premium tourism city, all border towns and citizens who have chronic illnesses.

Addressing members of the Bulawayo Provincial Covid-19 taskforce yesterday, chairperson of the taskforce, who is also Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said Bulawayo and Harare are next.

"The next cities where everybody will be vaccinated is Bulawayo and Harare. We consider you as border cities because you have lots of flights that come in. Preparations are underway to make sure that Bulawayo and Harare join those border towns in having everybody vaccinated in order to have herd immunity," he said.

Minister Moyo assured the nation that funds are continually being availed to procure vaccines so that the programme does not stop. He said some companies in the private and public sector have also started availing funds to buy vaccines to complement those bought by Government or donated by friendly countries.

Speaking at the same event, Bulawayo Health Services Director, Dr Edwin Sibanda said the city needs more vaccines to meet growing demand. He said available vaccines will last only two weeks hence there was need for the Government to deliver more vaccines and registers and cards as they are in short supply.

"We have been vaccinating between 2 500 to 3 000 daily. The 39 000 vaccines that we have in stock at the moment can last us between 10-13 days and it is not good enough to call the people to come for vaccinations. We want a situation whereby we have a lot of vaccinations in stock," he said

Dr Sibanda the city wants to open more vaccination centres as it is been offered spaces by medical aid societies among other organisations. He said staff and material challenges need to be urgently addressed if the programme is to run smoothly.

"The challenge we have now is severe staff shortages in our clinics as nurses also have to cater for TB, HIV patients and vaccinate children. We are functioning at less than 50 percent at some clinics. We got some nurses from central hospitals to assist but still that is not enough," he said.

Dr Sibanda said for the full city rollout to be a success, Government will have to address the challenges. Also speaking during the occasion, acting chief executive officer at Ekusileni Medical Centre Dr Absalom Dube said opening of the centre was being finalised.

"We successfully started Covid-19 vaccinations at the hospital on Thursday last week and our numbers are rising. We are only being allocated Sinovac vaccine for now," he said.

Responding to the challenges Minister Moyo said he was going to help address them. "We have to fine tune the mismatch of figures in terms of the supply chain of the vaccines. The issue of registers and card shortages for the vaccinated is also a concern and that needs to be addressed, "he said.

Minister Moyo said he was glad that the city's Covid-19 centres are now running with Ekusileni also soon to follow.

Bulawayo provincial development co-ordinator Mr Peter Nyoni warned residents against violating Covid-19 regulations to avoid the third wave which could be more deadly than the first two waves as people continue to have gatherings that exceed 50 people.

"We have seen a lot of violations at gatherings like funerals, weddings and at the registrar general's offices. That number is being breached and there is need to enforce regulations more strictly," he said.

Source - chronicle