Front-line health workers, ports of entry officials and funeral parlour workers will be among the first to be vaccinated for Covid-19 when the doses arrive in the country on Monday as expected, ahead of the country’s largest ever vaccination programme.
According to a schedule released yesterday, the Government has finalised the inoculation plan ahead of the arrival of the first jabs.
The chronically ill, the elderly, prisoners and those living in refugee camps will also be prioritised as well as staff at all schools.
The training of those who will administer the vaccines is ongoing and is set to be completed before the arrival of the jabs from China.
Experts are being prepared to inoculate the nation against the virus that has threatened health populations across the globe.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro announced the immunisation plan urging those who will be vaccinated to continue adhering to Covod-19 prevention protocols.
“The first batch of vaccines is expected to arrive in the country on the 15th of February 2021 from China and the vaccines will immediately be distributed to all provinces and districts across the country.
“May I assure you that we have adequate cold chain equipment to maintain the vaccines in their potent state up to the point of use.
“The role of the supply chain is to ensure effective vaccine storage, handling, and stock management, rigorous temperature control in the cold chain and maintenance of adequate logistics management information systems.”
Zimbabwe was also in advanced negotiations to acquire the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, as well as pursuing global and regional facilities to secure more vaccines to cover all eligible people.
Dr Mangwiro said on arrival the jabs will be taken to central vaccine stores where they will follow the distribution chain to 10 provincial vaccine stores, 63 district vaccine stores and more than 1 800 service delivery health facilities such as clinic vaccine stores as well as rural health centres.
The inoculation will take three phases namely, demographic data collection, blood test for antibodies and swab- a sample will be required to determine the potency and the vaccination, the delicate process is being done to monitor and track any side effects.
However, Sinopharm vaccines from China have proved to be safe in clinical trials with efficacy rates ranging from 76 to 86 percent and are being used by other countries in controlling Covid-19.
The jabs will be administered at fixed facilities and mobile outreaches and assured the health workers will be ready in time to administer the jabs.
“The Ministry has already started training all health workers who will be involved in the vaccination programme and training will be completed soon in time for the planned roll out.”
Dr Mangwiro said policies, guidelines and systems for the management of Adverse Events Following (AEFI) Immunisation are already in place and our health workers will be on high alert to identify, report and manage any if they occur.
He said sensitisation of frontline workers has already begun for them to take up the vaccine to protect themselves.
The vaccination programme in Zimbabwe will be conducted in a phased manner.
The first phase is for the high risk component of the population and is made up of two stages.
Stage 1 will target frontline workers at significantly high risk of Covid-19.
These include health workers, ports of entry personnel – ZIMRA, immigration, customs, funeral parlour, security personnel and village health workers. Stage 2 will target those with chronic illnesses, the elderly aged 60 years and above, inmates and prison population and others in confined settlements including refugee camps.
The second phase will cater for lectures, all schools staff and other staff at medium risk depending on the epidemiological picture of the disease.
The third phase will target those at relatively low risk until everyone is covered.