Zimbabwe: ZimRights Challenges Covid-19 Vaccine Roll Out Plan

A local human rights group, ZimRights has challenged the government’s proposed COVID-19 roll out plan saying it fails to meet constitutional demands needed to protect the right to life and death.

In a statement, ZimRights said yesterday’s pronouncement by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa during a post-cabinet briefing that the Cabinet had approved guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, is unconstitutional as the guidelines are a far cry of what they demanded of government in fulfilment of its Constitutional obligations to protect the right to life and health of all citizens.

Below is the full statement…

ZimRights has approached the High Court demanding a comprehensive vaccine roll-out plan including details of the budget allocations. Throwing figures that have no source and details of how it is meant to work does not amount to a plan.

Slogans and declarations do not amount to a plan. Propaganda responses to issues of life and death only show culpable negligence on the side of our national leadership.

In November 2020, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued a Statement on universal and equitable access to vaccines for COVID-19 in which it emphasised that every person has the right to have access to safe and effective vaccine. In the statement, the Committee gives further guidance on what the right to health, in the context of COVID 19 entails.

The right to health requires States to make health facilities, services and goods, including vaccines, available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality. Vaccines for COVID-19 must not only be produced and made available, says the Committee. They must also be accessible to all persons without discrimination.

The right includes ensuring that there is adequate investment in the health services infrastructure, public awareness and measures to combat disinformation.