Rufaro Winter, Chronicle Reporter
VENDORS have pleaded with health authorities to set up a Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Bulawayo market place.
Bulawayo residents have been steadily warming up to Covid-19 vaccination since the programme started countrywide early this year when the first batch of vaccines arrived in the country.
The city has numerous centres for easy access to residents that want to be vaccinated against the novel virus.
The informal traders made the plea to the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Raj Modi while he was distributing face masks and sanitisers at the market place on Thursday.
Deputy Minister Modi, who is also the Zanu-PF Bulawayo South legislator, runs a wholesale situated in the vicinity of the market place.
“We are very much interested in getting vaccinated but the problem is that as vendors we work long hours every day and it’s hard to leave our stalls to get the jabs at the City Hall and other centres around the city.
“We appeal to health authorities to set up a vaccination centre right here at the market place so that we have easy access to the vaccines. If there was a centre here, I would just ask my colleague to watch my stuff while I rush to the vaccination centre to get my jab,” said Mrs Ropafadzo Moyo.
“There is a lot of information on the vaccination programme on radio and television but without adequate vaccination centres that are easily accessible to us, then the whole program will not be a success.”
Another vendor Mr Buthelezi Mlalazi weighed in saying that health authorities must take advantage of the high volumes of people that frequent the market place to open a vaccination centre.
“There are a lot of us (vendors) here and if the Government can take advantage of these numbers to vaccinate us, we will also spread the word to our families and friends about the safety of the vaccines and more people will get vaccinated.
“Thousands of people also come here to buy fruits and vegetables and they can also take advantage of the vaccination centre to get their jabs,” said Mr Mlalazi.
Deputy Minister Modi said he will take up the vendors’ pleas with the relevant authorities to encourage them to open vaccination centres, not only at the Bulawayo market, but also at market places around the country for easy access to vaccination.
“Looking at the situation that is here at the market place, where lots of people operate from, I will surely take the vendors’ plea for a vaccination centre to be opened here. I think it’s a good idea to bring the vaccination programme right here where the vendors run their stalls so that they can get vaccinated and play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.
“We distributed 300 facemasks and sanitisers to the vendors after realising that most of them are no longer taking the Covid-19 pandemic seriously judging from the way they are not wearing their face masks properly,” he said. — @rufarovaraidzo