Over 100 000 Zimbabweans have heeded the call by Government to receive the free Covid-19 vaccination as part of efforts to control the pandemic.
The number of vaccination centres has also been increased, resulting in less congestion, and the speedy processing of those wanting the jab.
As of yesterday, 123 454 people had received their first jab while another 22 056 had received their second shot.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care yesterday said: “ . . . 6 157 received their first dose today bringing (the) cumulative (number) for 1st dose to 123 454 while 453 received their second dose bringing (the) cumulative for 2nd dose to 22 056 (as at 1600hrs).”
The vaccine uptake was low in the initial stages, which catered mainly for frontline health workers, journalists, selected security forces and staff at ports of entry, among others.
The second stage of the programme was launched late last month to include teachers, those in the hospitality industry, the clergy, tobacco merchants, those over 60 years and people with underlying conditions.
Last week, over 50 pastors from the Salvation Army joined multitudes of people who wanted to get their jabs.
Territorial Commander for the Salvation Army in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Madagascar, Commissioner Wayne Bungay, said it was important for pastors to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their congregants.
He said the church had a role to play in giving people the correct information about vaccines.
“As Christians, we believe that the word of God gives us many lessons. We learnt that over time, God reveals his knowledge, wisdom, creativity and ability and he gives that to human beings.
“He has supplied the science community all around the world with wisdom and understanding through research, through technology to come up with vaccines to battle such a pandemic,” he said.
Comm Bungay said nearly 600 Salvation Army pastors across Zimbabwe were waiting for their turn to get vaccinated.
“We hope all of our congregation will eventually be vaccinated so that we can get back to our fellowship because the need in the country is great and we are limited on how far we can travel, which is impacting our ministry in a negative way,” said Commissioner Bungay.
The elderly have continued to visit vaccination centres in numbers.
Gogo Olivia Shoniwa (69) said she had seen one of her children suffering from Covid-19, prompting her to get vaccinated as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
“I came here because this disease is very vicious so I want to protect myself. I have been waiting for this opportunity to get the vaccine.
“I encourage people to come forth and get the vaccine so that we can conquer this pandemic which has killed many people,” she said.
President Mnangagwa has emphasised that for Zimbabwe to conquer Covid-19, vaccines will play a major role.
“As you are aware, my Government has put in place measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Key among the strategies is the rollout of the vaccination programme to target 60 percent of our population towards the achievement of herd immunity,” he said while receiving a consignment of 35 000 doses of the Indian Covaxin recently.
The Indian consignment complemented the two Chinese consignments totalling 400 000 doses of vaccines.
The arrival of over one million Sinovac vaccines last week, completed the delivery of just 1,2 million doses of the vaccines bought by Zimbabwe.
As a result, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has accelerated the vaccination programme with more vaccination centres being activated while satellite vaccination points in rural centres and mobile teams have also become active.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last week said Zimbabwe will be taking delivery of about one million vaccines every month to ensure the targeted herd immunity of 10 million people was achieved.
Government has mobilised US$100 million towards the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.