By James Martin
Health care workers who are braving the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, trying to save lives will be the first in line to receive jabs of the vaccine as soon as it is available, Open Parly has learnt.
A team of epidemiologists and health experts at McGill University in Canada indicate that more than 70 COVID-19 vaccines are being developed worldwide with at least 10 drugs having been already approved for use.
Among the vaccines already in use include Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Astrazeneca, Sputnik V and Covaxin.
African countries are yet to inoculate their citizens with the available vaccines due to various reasons. Most citizens are however demanding to know their governments plans for the roll out of the life saving vaccines.
In Zimbabwe where COVID-19 has claimed more than 900 lives, government hinted this week its vaccination roll out draft was complete.
A press statement released by the acting Information Minister Jenfan Muswere said a vaccination roll out plan is ready. He added that it will be made available to the public “once the modalities are in place.”
“A lot of public interest around the subject of a vaccine program for Zimbabwe has been expressed. We are pleased to advise the nation that a Draft Vaccination Framework Program has been developed. Once the modalities are in place, it will be shared with the nation,” Muswere said.
Health workers to get first priority
COVID-19 Taskforce chief coordinator Agnes Mahomva said while the plan is comprehensive, health care workers top the priority list.
“We want to make sure those who are looking after patients 24/7, all health workers become our biggest priority.
She added: “We will then do calculations, our costing as part of preparations including funding and the roll out aspects.”
Mahomva said the vaccine rollout will not follow the money but will be made available to every Zimbabwean.
“When you are in this kind of pandemic it’s not about private, public, rich or poor. If you are rich and you vaccinate yourself and the poor next to you does not, you will still contract the virus at some point because you are not going to be immune forever.”
The government has however remained mum on the costs involved to inoculate every Zimbabwean citizen.
Zimbabwe is reported to have between 14 and 16 million people.
“Government has mobilised and set aside some resources. But clearly there is no single government which will be able to do this (vaccination) on its own. So in our framework we will be roping donors and all those who might be in position to support us.”
Vice President Chiwenga recently said the government will not force jabs on citizens who may not be willing to take it.
“The vaccination is going to be voluntary. And let me underscore that my Ministry is doing everything to ensure our citizens are safe from possible side effects of some Covid-19 vaccines currently on the shelf,” Chiwenga said. #OpenCovidContracts
How Zim plans to roll out COVID-19 Vaccines