By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
THERE has been worrying low uptake of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine among frontline health workers in Mashonaland West province, a senior Health Ministry official has confirmed.
The provincial medical director, Gift Masocha said health personnel, who include doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other support staff were reluctant to be vaccinated against the deadly respiratory disease due to negative publicity surrounding the safety and efficacy of the doses.
The provincial vaccine roll-out started over two weeks ago, but according to Masocha, only 46% of the province’s health workers had been jabbed in the first 10 days immunisation exercise.
“During the initial vaccination programme targeting frontline health workers, we didn’t do so well as our people didn’t accept it. Only 46% were vaccinated, therefore, we need to go on an outreach exercise to conscientise and educate them on the Sinopharm vaccine,” he said.
“There is a lot of negative publicity especially on social media about the vaccine. People are asking and emphasising on whether it is safe.”
Mashonaland West ranks fourth out of the 10 provinces most affected by Covid-19, having so far recorded 2 039 positive cases in seven districts.
Of these cases, 77 were imported while 1 962 were local transmissions.
A total 135 deaths were recorded mostly in Chegutu and Makonde districts.
Currently, the province is handling 12 active cases, Makonde (7), Kariba (4) and Mhondoro-Ngezi (1).
There have been 1 187 recoveries.
In Makonde district, with the province’s highest Covid-19 burden, only 26% of health workers were jabbed.
Norton, a dormitory town of the capital city, has also witnessed bulk Covid-19 cases due to its proximity to capital city, Harare which is a coronavirus hotspot.
Masocha said, Mashonaland West province had the highest fatality rate countrywide, which stood at 6, 6% and, therefore, frontline health staff, particularly doctors and nurses, had to be vaccinated to boost their immunity and curtail Covid-19 deaths.