Zimbabwe Expands High-Risk Groups Targeted For Priority Vaccination

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Workers in the hospitality and tobacco industries will be prioritized for vaccination alongside teachers as Zimbabwe steps up COVID-19 vaccination, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Tuesday.

“The Cabinet resolved that Stage Two of Phase One of the vaccination roll-out will include tobacco merchants and their workers, teachers and hospitality industry workers, and this should commence immediately,” she said.

The first phase of Zimbabwe’s vaccination program started in February with high-risk groups, including healthcare workers and journalists, being the first in line to receive the jab.

A total of 36,786 people have been vaccinated since the vaccination program began on Feb. 18, the minister said.

To gather momentum, the number of vaccinators will be increased, including health workers in the uniformed forces and local authorities, as well as retired health workers, she added.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco marketing season for 2021 is scheduled to open early next month, while schools reopened this week after a two-month shutdown caused by a lockdown.

The government also gave a green light for all sporting activities to resume, while restaurants are now allowed to reopen at 50 percent sitting capacity, Mutsvangwa said.

Zimbabwe eased its two-month lockdown measures on March 1 following a significant decline in cases and deaths.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe received its second batch of Sinopharm vaccines donated by China, as well as another batch of Sinovac doses it purchased from the Asian country.