By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
AS OF last week, only a total of 6 000 people had received Covid-19 vaccine jabs across Mashonaland West province which has an estimated population of 1.5 million people.
This was revealed by the provincial medical director, Gift Masoja who said the low uptake of the vaccines could be attributed to the negative publicity on social media platforms surrounding the safety and efficacy of the available vaccines.
The government doctor urged the public to ignore the negative publicity being peddled against the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, and instead embrace the inoculation exercise.
“The low uptake is due to negative publicity on social media. We are urging people to ignore misleading advice from social media influencers advocating against vaccination as they are not health experts.
“It is your health that is at risk, therefore, it is of paramount importance to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus pandemic because we are under threat of a third wave of the pandemic, hence the need to have people vaccinated so that the nation is not plunged into a situation where we record high numbers of new infections and deaths,” said Masoja.
Mashonaland West province has 208 clinics where people can get vaccinated but authorities were grappling with storage facilities to keep the vaccines that require to be stored under low temperatures.
Last week, Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, which is the province’s referral health institution, got a timely boost after receiving an estimated 8 750 Covid-19 antigen test kits from the government-owned NatPharm.
Masoja revealed test the kits stocks had depleted and the timely boost last Friday would enable screening of patients against Covid-19 at the giant hospital.
The ministry received 25 x 120 boxes of Covid-19 test kits for distribution to 350 testing centres across the province.