Nqobile Tshili and Thupeyo Muleya, Chronicle Reporters
THE vaccination of journalists against Covid-19 started yesterday following Tuesday’s Cabinet decision that they be included among frontline workers being vaccinated under Phase One of the programme.
Cabinet approved the submission by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services that journalists be included in the first phase of the vaccination programme as they are also frontline workers.
The journalists joined other frontline workers that include health workers, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) personnel, Customs and Immigration employees and those in the security sector who are being vaccinated under phase one.
Zimbabwe launched the Covid-19 vaccination programme last Thursday and massive vaccination of frontline workers started on Monday.
A few journalists from Bulawayo and Victoria Falls were among the first scribes to be vaccinated yesterday and urged others to also take advantage of the Cabinet decision to prioritise their vaccination.
Bulawayo City Council which is leading the city’s Covid-19 rapid response teams has already started compiling the list of journalists to be vaccinated in the city.
Bulawayo Health Services director Dr Edwin Sibanda yesterday said it was crucial for those being targeted for the first phase of the vaccine programme to take the jab.
“Many people rely on information from journalists and they take it as authentic. So, it is important that journalists themselves appreciate and articulate Government, Ministry of Health and Child Care positions especially on issues to do with vaccinations as there is a lot of misinformation regarding the vaccine. The vaccine prevents the severe form of the disease. It may not prevent you 100 percent from contracting the disease but in the event of contrracting the virus, the attack will not be severe. Those vaccinated may recover without treatment.
We all know the cost of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) hospitalisation particularly if one needs ventilators as most cannot afford them. It is a fact that we do not have enough ventilators in the city hence the need to take preventative measures such as vaccination and other health protocols,” said
He said members of the public should guard against misinformation with regards to Covid-19 vaccines.
“People think that vaccines are going to introduce some DNA or other materials that would alter their DNA and make them vulnerable. It is not so and more so with this particular vaccine. This vaccine is from China and people may be skeptical about its source but what they did not do extensively is to research and appreciate that this vaccine manufactured by China, was tested and not in China but mainly in the United Arab Emirates, a reasonably prosperous country by any standards,” he said.
Dr Sibanda said the same naysayers used to dismiss the existence of Covid-19 pandemic until people started dying from the disease.
Meanwhile, health officials in Matabeleland South have started vaccinating frontline workers in rural areas.
The Provincial Nursing Officer Sister Joyce Dube said they had received Sinopharm doses to cover 5000 people.
She said they opted to start with those in the furthest and remote areas.
“The idea is to start inoculating those in areas where road network and communication facilities are a challenge. We will move into urban areas from next week,” she said.
Sister Dube said the programme was continuing with fewer challenges and by end of day on Tuesday they had vaccinated 154 people.
Among those expected to take the jabs under the first phase are border workers at the Mlambapele, Maitengwe, Mpoengs, Plumtree and Beitbridge Border Posts.
In Beitbridge, the district medical officer, Dr Lenos Samhere said they had received vaccines to cover 1 402 frontline workers.
“The programme is going on well without any challenges and so we expect our numbers to peak next week,” said Dr [email protected]