BY DONALD NYANDORO
THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe has urged government to include journalists among the first priority groups listed for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme.
The media body said journalists were essential service providers who needed to be prioritised like other frontline workers given the role they played in disseminating information to the general public.
This follows the arrival on Monday of 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China.
Government has since released a vaccination rollout plan which is divided into three phases, with the first phase prioritising health workers, immigration agents working at borders, funeral parlour workers, State security personnel and Agritex officers.
“Journalists, together with other essential priority groups, are frontline workers that need to be prioritised as well, given the critical role they play in keeping the nation informed on developments and measures that the government is taking to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Misa Zimbabwe statement released yesterday read.
The media lobby organisation also advised the government to work closely with the Zimbabwe Media Commission, media houses and media representative organisations on how best to implement the inoculation exercise for journalists as they were critical components of the sectors and groups that have been declared essential services.
“The government should consider that journalists risk their lives when carrying out their duties hence the need to prioritise their health and safety,” Misa Zimbabwe said.
The organisation also highlighted that lessons could be drawn from Zambia, which through its Ministry of Health, recently announced that journalists would be among the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive in that country.