BY VANESSA GONYE
ZIMBABWE’s ambitions to have 60% of the adult population vaccinated against COVID-19 have hit a snag with fewer people now taking the jab than anticipated.
This was disclosed yesterday by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga during the launch of the new National COVID-19 Response Structure in Harare.
He told delegates that the national response faced a number of challenges despite the country’s high ranking on the vaccination programme in Africa.
Nearly 3,4 million people have received their first dose, while almost 2,5 million have been fully inoculated against government’s projection of reaching 10 million complete vaccinations by year end.
Chiwenga, who also doubles as Health minister, said despite the widespread view, the vaccination programme has had its shortcomings.
“Recently, the momentum of the vaccination programme seems to have gone down in a number of provinces. The magnitude and duration of the three pandemic waves experienced so far have worsened with each wave.
“These challenges and programme gaps are a clear indication that despite the many achievements recorded so far, we still need to do much, much more if we are to prevent or subdue a potentially bigger and longer fourth wave,” Chiwenga said.
His remarks came at a time when citizens are reportedly wantonly flouting COVID-19 guidelines, with political parties holding large gatherings, raising fears of an impending retightening of COVID-19 measures.
However, Chiwenga said the country had been strategic in its response to the pandemic after adopting comprehensive and integrated implementation and co-ordination approaches in collaboration with all stakeholders.
Cabinet on Tuesday announced that it would come up with a revised response structure aimed at consolidating the gains made so far in order to deal with the challenges linked to the pandemic.
Chiwenga will lead the new ministerial committee on the National COVID-19 Response. He will be deputised by Higher Education minister Amon Murwira.
The ministerial committee will receive technical support from a working part of officials led by the COVID-19 taskforce national co-ordinator Agnes Mahomva.
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