Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) launched its Covid-19 vaccination programme for staff and students yesterday and the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo was the first to get the jab.
The university says it is targeting more than 1 000 staff members and students who will be coming to the campus in groups for the vaccination.
At the launch, staff members took time to ask the university’s chief nursing officer, Sister Edith Ngwenya questions about the vaccine and its effect.
Myths and misconceptions about the vaccine driven mostly by social media have affected the uptake of the vaccines even among frontline workers.
Professor Dlodlo urged students and staff to be vaccinated saying the vaccination will help the institution to carry out its mandate without much challenges.
He said the vaccination might minimise learning disruptions that the institutions of higher learning have been experiencing since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“It really was not anything different from all jabs I am used to. It is a very tiny needle and there are some jabs that require a thicker needle.
When it gets in it’s like a mosquito bite. It is important for our staff and students to be vaccinated,” said Prof Dlodlo.
He said people need to read the contents of the bottle if they are sceptical and find out what is inside. “What is inside are your usual body fluids, the different minerals that are in your food. The food you eat already has those things. The only difference is the little bit of the dead virus that has been put there so that your anti-bodies can identify it as a dangerous thing and start building up your immunity against it so that when it comes the body will be able to fight it,” said Prof Dlodlo.
The university’s acting pro-Vice-Chancellor innovation and business development, Dr Peter Nkala said it is important for all university employees to go through the process.
“This process is critical because we need to protect each other. I hope those who have fears will find courage when they discover that those who have been vaccinated have not suffered any adverse effects. You can see that even on social media those fake stories of adverse effects are disappearing,” he said.
The university librarian Ms Kathy Matsika welcomed the vaccination.
“I have been anxiously waiting and this is a welcome development as we deal with a lot of students and people in the library. It is good to be prepared to assist but when you are not vaccinated you are not sure when dealing with them. With the vaccine you have confidence to help,” she said.
The university’s director of information and marketing, Mr Thabani Mpofu said the vaccination will be open throughout the week from Monday to Friday starting at 8AM and closing at 4.30PM.
“We are encouraging all our employees to be vaccinated. We are also working on a programme to vaccinate our students who come to the campus in phases. They are free to come to the clinic to get the jab. We have about 1 000 staff members on compass but others are at home and we are calling on them to come to the university to get the vaccine,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Bulawayo City Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care has set up Covid-19 vaccination centres at all 19 council clinics across the city.
The Health Ministry has also set up similar centres at central hospitals and is asking eligible residents to visit the centres for vaccination.
In a statement yesterday, Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said those that are eligible and want to be vaccinated should visit any of the centres.
“As per the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) roll-out plan, the following residents above 18 years of age are currently eligible for Covid-19 vaccination, frontline workers or essential services, those with chronic illnesses, the elderly above 60 years, schools and colleges staff and security personnel,” he said.
Under the programme, all pastors, bishops, priests and the clergy who have been designated as essential workers will receive the Covid-19 jab at VIVAT Health Centre at Zimdef House.
Mr Dube said the programme which started on Tuesday will end on April 12. — @themkhust