Vaccination gaps will cost us dearly

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WHILE statistics for new infections are going down, the number of COVID-19-related deaths remain high. We, therefore, urge authorities to religiously enforce the lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday extended the lockdown by another two weeks.

We urge people to take advantage of the extension and get vaccinated so that the country can attain the targeted herd immunity — 60% of the population.

The Health and Child Care ministry should address the haphazard manner in which the vaccination programme is being run and avail enough vaccines for both first and second jabs.

People inoculated with the first jab are crying foul because they are failing to get the second jab as the vaccines are in short supply.

People are panicking that the stipulated days between the first and second jabs are lapsing which may render the vaccine ineffective.

Health experts have warned that these “vaccination gaps may allow for mutations to take place in between with resultant further complicated scenarios.”

So to win this coronavirus war, government has to speed up procurement of vaccines and distribute them in an orderly manner. It is high time the corporate world chipped in with funds to assist the government in procuring large quantities of both first and second jab vaccines.

Further delays in procuring the vaccines will stand in the way of the opening up of the economy and it means the lockdown will be with us for some time. It is risky for government to open up the economy before attaining herd immunity.

There is also need to invest in awareness campaigns as there are numerous misconceptions and myths around these vaccines. People need to be aware that vaccines are the panacea to the pandemic. We should not fool ourselves that the warm weather will protect us from the virus. Of course, new cases and deaths from coronavirus are going down, but scientists maintain that the link between the weather and COVID-19 is complicated.

They argue that while weather influences the environment in which the coronavirus thrives, its contribution in curbing the spread of the virus is insignificant.

Instead, they are worried about the warm weather’s influence on human behaviour which tend to propel the spread of coronavirus.

It is time we took heed of scientific advice and observe laid down World Health Organisation regulations.

Also, funds for research and analysis of different variants should be availed in order to have a lasting solution to the mutations.

While government is doing its part, the community is expected to do even more if this scourge is to be nipped in the bud.