The response to mass Covid-19 vaccination is reported to be overwhelming in both urban and rural areas. Long winding queues are now common at most vaccination centres and the vaccination teams are being overwhelmed by the numbers.
The fear is that unless a system is worked out, the vaccination centres could be super spreaders of the pandemic. Vaccination teams need to come up with a system whereby only those that can be vaccinated on a particular day remain in the queue.
A centre with a capacity to vaccinate say 100 people a day, should just count the first 100 and ask the rest to come the following day to avoid overcrowding. The overcrowding at the vaccination centres is making it difficult to maintain social distancing.
Chiefs in Matabeleland North have appealed to Government to deploy mobile teams in their areas saying some villagers are walking long distances to the vaccination centres.
The chiefs say health centres which are the vaccination centres in their areas are far away from some communities hence the need for mobile teams to service such communities.
The situation could be the same in most rural areas and we want at this juncture to implore health authorities to seriously consider the chiefs’ request. The chiefs said the situation has been worsened by lack of public transport even within the districts as kombis and buses that used to service them have been grounded following the banning of inter-city travel under the enhanced level 4 lockdown.
The chiefs said people now appreciate the importance of being vaccinated hence the overwhelming response. They said their fear is that some of their subjects might not be vaccinated because they are failing to walk the long distances to the vaccination centres.
The Deputy President of the Chiefs Council Chief Mtshana said many people now want to be vaccinated because they are seeing more people being infected and others succumbing to the pandemic.
He said as traditional leaders they were appealing to Government to deploy mobile teams in areas that are far away from health institutions so that no one is denied access to vaccination. The country needs to vaccinate 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.
The deployment of mobile teams, especially in rural areas, will therefore accelerate the vaccination exercise. In urban areas Government has increased vaccination points by allowing private surgeries to vaccinate for a nominal fee.
Cities such as Victoria Falls have already reached herd immunity and we need to push so that as a nation we achieve herd immunity as soon as possible.
Zimbabweans, like the rest of the world, are losing their loved ones daily and our salvation is in achieving herd immunity in the shortest possible time.