BY SILAS NKALA
ZIMBABWEAN immigrants in South Africa have hailed the government in the neighbouring country for disclosing that its COVID-19 vaccination policy will not discriminate against foreigners.
This was said by the Zimbabwean Immigrants Association in South Africa after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced that foreigners, who wanted to benefit from the voluntary inoculation against the coronavirus, would benefit from the vaccination programme.
South Africa National Treasury director Dondo Mogajane also said even illegal immigrants would benefit from the programme during a virtual meeting with the South Africa National Editors Forum.
MWA-SA chairperson Butholezwe Nyathi, a Zimbabwean nurse based in that country, said: “The migrant community is encouraged to remain calm and closely follow the roll-out plan by the government that is using the phased approach starting with high priority groups. The MWA-SA nurse’s wing has managed to attend the recent training by the National Department of Health on the vaccination programme and will be able to assist to tackle some of the issues regarding the process.”
Vusumuzi Sibanda, a Zimbabwean doctor based in South Africa, said they were happy that the government included foreign citizens in the vaccine programme.
He, however, said that many Zimbabweans in the diaspora were facing survival challenges due to lockdowns.
“What we are doing for the Zimbabweans is that people register for interventions such as food parcels. There is need to ensure that Zimbabweans in South Africa do not starve,” Sibanda said.
He said some Zimbabweans were struggling to pay school fees for their children after they were laid off.
South Africa received one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from India, and is rolling out a vaccination programme starting with the frontline workers.
According to the South African government website, it will begin by vaccinating the country’s estimated 1,25 million healthcare workers.
The first batch of AstraZeneca doses arrived at Oliver R Tambo international Airport from India on Monday last week.
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