By Bulawayo Correspondent
FORMER Health Minister Henry Madzorera has attributed the low uptake of the Chinese made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to the government’s politicisation of the immunisation programme, including lack of consultations before embarking on the exercise.
The government last month received 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China and took delivery of another 200 000 doses last week from the giant Asian country.
Out of the first 100 000 thousand available jabs, only 35 901 frontline workers had been vaccinated by last weekend.
However, in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Monday, Madzorera who is also the MDC Alliance health secretary noted the majority of Zimbabweans do not have confidence in the immunisation exercise as it had been politicised by the ruling Zanu PF government.
“Phase one of the vaccination campaign in Zimbabwe has been embarrassingly low and the major reason is that the people do not have confidence on what the government is doing. People do not have confidence in the vaccine that the government has procured without any consultations with the people,” he said.
“This was purely a political gimmick done by the government for their reasons and that is why people do not have trust in this.”
A medical doctor by profession, he said the government also blundered by allowing politicians to lead the vaccination campaign process.
“For the government to reverse this very high vaccine hesitance level among Zimbabweans, even the health professionals themselves, the government must begin to engage the people. We want to be engaged by the professionals.”
“The government should send the professionals who know how to explain what has happened in the development of these vaccines. How it has gone through all the phases of development and the field trials that have been done in other countries. We want to know the results of the safety and efficacy in the field trials that have been done in other countries. All that information will assist in the uptake of the vaccination,” said Madzorera.
He also criticised the government for failing to consult relevant stakeholders before rolling out the inoculation programme.
“There was not much consultations with health workers and other public health professionals. There is no consultation with the general masses and even the national immunisation technical advisory group. The recommendations they were giving to government were not even probably taken into consideration,” said Madzorera further advising the government to be transparent when procuring the drugs to avoid suspicion from the public.
“The procuring of the vaccine should be transparent so that people will not suspect looting and corruption.”