By Anna Chibamu
HEALTH and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro has warned Zimbabweans against dropping their guard even after the Covid-19 menace has had lesser impact on the country when compared to other world territories.
Mangwiro told guests at a Thursday launch of the private sector vaccination programme to combat the pandemic in the provision of equipped facilities to offer healthcare services to the nation.
Said the minister, “We are fortunate to have been spared the huge number of infections and deaths being experienced in some other parts of the world.
“However, we must not be complacent. The fact that we have not been as badly affected as many other countries is largely due to the steps that the government took which include the implementation of early lockdown measures in Zimbabwe and thereafter to gradually ease lockdown restrictions, tightening it up again when we were threatened with a second and more serious wave of infections.
“The results of complacency can be seen in the frightening escalation we experienced in both confirmed infections and deaths at the beginning of the year, necessitating tightening the lockdown again.
“It should serve as a warning to those who still do not take the disease seriously that we are not immune from the consequences that some other nations have experienced and are experiencing.
“We do still have people infected with the virus, some of whom are in serious conditions.”
The senior government official pointed out the pandemic had affected every part of the world, adding that mass vaccination against the virus at present seems to be the only hope that there is to overcome the virus.
“We live in a global village, which is why the pandemic spread so quickly worldwide.
“This is the reason why scientists worked so hard to come up with a vaccine as soon as they possibly could.
“Therefore, it is important for as many people to be vaccinated, not only for their own protection and the protection of their own nation but in the interests of every other nation.”
Mangwiro bemoaned continued doubts shown by a section of the population over the genuineness and sincerity behind Covid-19 vaccines.
“It is unfortunate that skepticism about Covid-19 vaccines developed in general and with regard to the vaccine we are using here in Zimbabwe in particular.
“This skepticism has been exacerbated by a considerable amount of fake news circulating on social media.
“We appreciate the steps taken by some of you to counter such fake news and misguided beliefs by providing information about the vaccines and how they were developed.
“I know that Cimas, which is the Programme Technical Partner and Health Advisor to the Business Member Organisations, has been proactive in providing its own members with factual information about the vaccine.”
Mangwiro said the health insurer played a major role in proposing to government, the private sector initiative to acquire and dispense the vaccine and in obtaining from government the jabs for the vaccination programme.
He also admitted that “government resources were limited and stretched through the demands that this pandemic had put on it, a private sector initiative to meet the cost of some of the vaccines is very welcome”.
Cimas board chairperson, Emma Fundira told NewZimbabwe.com on the sidelines of the event that the business community had set aside US$1 million for the initiative.