ZDI blasts govt over ‘ambitious’ COVID-19 jab drive

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA/TAPFUMANEYI MUCHABAIWA
RESEARCH think-tank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has blasted government for its failure to live up to its ambitious pledge to vaccinate 60% of the population against COVID-19 by December 2021.

In its monthly monitoring report titled Zimbabwe COVID-19 Herd Immunity By December 2021: A Far-fetched Dream, ZDI said it took seven months for Zimbabwe to vaccinate 38% of its targeted population.

ZDI said government had to date failed to give feedback to the public regarding this issue.

“The attainment of COVID-19 herd immunity by Zimbabwe has always been doubtful after a careful consideration of facts on the ground.

“Government appears to be admitting that its efforts to accelerate the vaccination campaign need to be stepped up if the country is to achieve COVID-19 herd immunity in the first quarter of 2022,” ZDI said.

“The government, thus, failed to meet its own set target of reaching herd immunity (vaccinating 10 million people by end of 2021).

“The government has so far not said anything pertaining to its failure to meet the COVID-19 herd immunity target and its attendant effects.”

According to the Health and Child Care ministry COVID-19 daily situational report for the period ended December 31, 2021, the country vaccinated four million people only.

The research think-tank urged civic society to take government to task for its failure to meet the COVID-19 herd immunity target — vaccinating 10 million people.

But COVID-19 national taskforce co-ordinator Agnes Mahomva yesterday disputed the claims, saying government had given regular updates to the public in terms of the vaccination programme.

“We are constantly informing the public every week as we do ministerial Cabinet media briefings. We don’t wait to announce as if to say we are boarding a plane to Europe or wherever. We continue to give briefings to the government, and that is the proper way of informing the public,” she said.

“We have informed the public on challenges faced, and strategies that we are going to use to consolidate them. The update is continuously being done on a weekly basis.”

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