BY LORRAINE MUROMO
The government is yet to set up Covid-19 vaccination sites at bus-terminals weeks after Cabinet made the announcement while clinics and hospitals are still to administer the promised booster jabs.
It announced that it would set up vaccination sites at the main intra and inter-city bus terminals early this month to ensure that those not vaccinated could receive shots of the vaccine voluntarily before boarding.
Eventually those without a valid vaccination card will not be allowed to board public Zupco transport, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa warned.
A survey by The Standard last week revealed that no vaccination site has been set up at bus termini, and health experts urged the government to implement the vaccination strategy to save lives.
“Bus termini are a good area to catch people who may live too far from clinics or who haven’t been able to go to the other formal sites for whatever reason,” Senior Hospital Doctors Association President Shingai Nyaguse said.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said it was regrettable that the government was taking too long to implement the vaccination strategy at a time when the country was recording over four digit cases every day.
“It is very unfortunate that the government announcements are not matching up with the implementation on the ground just like the administration of the third dose or booster jab that was announced by President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa some two weeks ago is yet to be implemented. Most health facilities are saying that they are still waiting for the government directive,” Rusike said.
The Health and Child Care ministry announced on December 3 that it would administer booster shots to frontline workers, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly with immediate effect.
“We also need mobile outreach services and use of motorbikes in the rural areas and remote locations in order to address issues of vaccine equity,” Rusike added
“Zimbabwe needs some innovative Covid vaccination roll-out strategies if the country is to accelerate towards achieving the required herd immunity.
“We welcomed the proposal by the government to erect vaccination posts at bus terminus and we urge the authorities to urgently implement the programme without further delay.”
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said the government must not tire in encouraging people to get vaccinated despite hesitancy.
“You know when you are in positions of authority, and you notice that some of the things that you want to do are not being done because of one’s ignorance and misinformation, you do everything in order to stimulate and coerce people into getting vaccinated,” Marisa said
“We are expecting more pronouncements of this nature because the government will try and make sure that people have that fear and therefore opt for vaccination.
“It might just be a statement but it helps to an extent although there are some people who are very hard headed.”
Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro was not reachable for comment.