The government will proceed with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans despite the neighboring South Africa facing challenges with the AstraZeneca drug which has since been suspended.
In an update yesterday, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro said the vaccine rollout plan will be availed very soon while urging citizens to be vaccinated to help avert the pandemic.
“We will have centres where the vaccine will be given. Very soon, you will be told where to get your vaccine. This vaccine is going to be free of charge. It is going to be on a voluntary basis, but our advice is that people must get this injection if possible, but no one will be forced. Our scientists point to the fact that this vaccine is potentially very helpful. It’s helpful in trying to avert the disaster we are seeing with the Covid-19 disease. We definitely encourage people to get it,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He added that the government will use existing structures used for diseases such as polio and a swathe of childhood.
“The preparations that are already on the ground are that we already have a structure where we were giving the vaccines for diseases like polio. Those are still in place and we will use those structures. We will also collect data from people to see if they already have antibodies to this Covid-19 and to see what will come after this injection of the Covid-19 vaccine,” he added.
Dr Mangwiro said the dates for vaccination would be announced soon, saying there would normally be two jabs, separated by around a month, to ensure maximum resistance to Covid-19. Testing and monitoring would ensure vaccination safety.
“We need swabs to see if they have the disease in their nostrils at that time. People should be ready to give us information about themselves. It will be kept confidential, but this will help us when we give the second dose of the vaccine to say how did you react when we gave you the first dose,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He further urged people to report any unusual feeling like headaches so that they could get assistance if they react to the vaccine.