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Zimbabwe vaccinates 40 pct of eligible population

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By Xinhua

HARARE: Zimbabwe has vaccinated over 40 percent of its eligible population against COVID-19, achieving herd immunity in some of its towns and cities, with vaccines mainly from China.

This is Zimbabwe’s milestone in the fight against the pandemic, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa when opening the 3rd Session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Friday.

“Our robust vaccination drive has seen us vaccinating over 40 percent of the eligible population nationwide, with a number of towns and cities, including the City of Victoria Falls, achieving herd immunity,” he said.

Zimbabwe kick-started its national vaccination program in February last year after receiving a donation of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China.

Since then, the country has secured more than 20 million doses of vaccines, mainly from China.

Last month, the country’s vaccination drive received a major boost after China announced an additional donation of 10 million COVID-19 vaccines to the country.

Over the past week, the government extended COVID-19 vaccination to adolescents aged 12-15 in line with medical advice, as it seeks to boost the number of vaccinated people in the country.

Zimbabwe aims to vaccinate at least 10 million people out of its population of about 14 million to achieve herd immunity.

The southern African country is among the 15 African countries that have already achieved the target set by the World Health Organization to fully vaccinate 10 percent of their populations by September 2021.

Mnangagwa said there was an urgent need for Africa to increase its internal capacities to deal with challenges such as inequitable distribution of vaccines.

He criticised vaccine nationalism with regards to both vaccine production and distribution.

As of Thursday, 3,381,046 people in the country had been fully inoculated and 113,462 had received a booster shot.

To date, the country has recorded 234,967 cases with 225,447 recoveries and 5,390 deaths.