By Alois Vinga
THE ZIMBABWE Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has called on the government to scale up public campaigns which demystify the current myths associated with the Covid-19 vaccine uptake.
In a statement to mark the World Health Day, the doctors group noted the low uptake of the vaccine as a matter of grave concern.
This comes after Zimbabwe recorded 32 new Covid-19 cases and six deaths Tuesday.
According to government statistics, a total of 139 133 people have received their first vaccine dose while 23 500 have received their second vaccine since the start of the inoculation programme in February.
However, health experts have described uptake as poor.
“ZADHR notes the poor uptake of vaccination across the country and urges the Health Ministry to do more on vaccine literacy through enhanced public campaigns to popularise the vaccine roll-out plan and on dispelling myths and misconceptions for the purposes of promoting demand for, and uptake of vaccines in the country,” the doctors group said.
The association also urged the government to invest more in financing the procurement of more vaccines and expanding the geographic reach of the programme.
“By and large, we take this opportunity to reinforce our commitment to partnering the Government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic and its attendant consequences to build a strong and resilient health system in the country,” ZADHR said.
Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga having publicly vaccinated against Covid-19, the majority of Zimbabweans are still reluctant to follow suit.
The opposition political party, the MDC Alliance and some sections of the society have accused the government of providing limited information on the vaccine.
The ZADHR also noted the poor, indigent and marginalised communities have suffered the most due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The situation has further amplified gender, social and health inequalities and calls for governments across the world to ensure that citizens, especially the marginalised, are protected from the negative effects of the pandemic socially and economically,” the ZADHR added.