HARARE, Jan. 28 — Zimbabwe plans to rely on an immunization program already in place for other diseases to roll out COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they arrive.
The Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control with the Health Ministry, Portia Manangazira, told the Parliamentary Committee on Health that the national COVID-19 vaccine readiness assessment had already been done, state-run Herald newspaper reported Thursday.
Manangazira said the Health Ministry came up with a deployment strategy that would be used once the program starts.
“I am happy to say as a country we have a very robust immunization program and the ministry through the Expanded Program on Immunization has conducted a national readiness assessment for the COVID-19 vaccine and we have also come up with a Zimbabwe COVID-19 national deployment and vaccination strategy,” said Manangazira.
She said the government had also been studying the vaccines that were already on the world market and were using WHO approvals to help select the vaccines that would be used in Zimbabwe.
The government is in the process of mobilizing the necessary resources to buy COVID-19 vaccines, with the private sector also expressing its keen desire to complement government efforts in procuring COVID-19 vaccines.
Britain also offered to vaccinate 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable population.
Zimbabwe is part of a global initiative led by WHO known as Covax which plans to secure and distribute millions of doses of vaccines to African countries, once licensed and approved.
The initiative, which seeks to secure at least 220 million doses for the continent, will enable fast and equitable distribution of the vaccines.
The government has already said frontline workers, the vulnerable and security services would be among the first to be inoculated.
Zimbabwe has seen a spike in COVID-19 infections and fatalities since the beginning of the year.
The country has to date recorded 32,304 COVID-19 cases, including 1,122 deaths and 23,687 recoveries, according to the Health Ministry.