Zimbabwe: Vaccine Rollout Gives Priority to Hotspots

With adequate stocks of vaccine now available to accelerate the national programme, health authorities are giving maximum priority to areas where there are high levels of social contact to build the infection firebreaks as quickly as possible and protect those at the highest risk of infection.

Zimbabwe last week took delivery of two million Sinovac doses bought from China, and another 3,5 million doses are expected over the next few weeks.

Mobile Covid-19 vaccination teams are being created to speed up the national campaign and they will also be helping to identify those with chronic illnesses that are not being treated so that the vaccination is safe.

Health and Child Care Ministry spokesperson Mr Donald Mujiri has said priority will be given to places classified as high social contact areas.

“The rollout plan will prioritise border towns and cities, people’s markets such as Mbare Musika, Renkini (in Bulawayo) and Sakubva (market in Mutare), among others.”

He confirmed previous policy statements that hotspots, tobacco auction floors, GMB depots, cotton depots, colleges and universities will also be given very high priority.

So far from the latest shipment, the eight non-metropolitan provinces had each been given an initial allocation of 50 000 first doses, with Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces where crowded areas are more intense and more common, each getting 100 000 first doses.

Mashonaland West Province, the hardest hit area and the initial area of the ongoing third wave, has received 90 000 first doses.

After receiving the largest single consignment last week, which took total deliveries to 4,26 million doses, almost all of Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, another 1,5 million doses were expected this week, while another 2 million doses were expected around month end.

The high flow of vaccine orders has now put pressure on the logistics in the national vaccination programme to get the teams out and vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

On mobile vaccination teams, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro said: “We have set up teams which will be moving around the country especially in rural areas vaccinating people. We want to ensure that people have access to the vaccine.

“Also the teams will be moving around treating and issuing out tablets to those with chronic diseases such as blood pressure and sugar diabetes before they are vaccinated.”