A healthcare worker shows a Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at Wilkins Hospital in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, Feb. 18, 2021. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)
The Zimbabwean government has so far approved four COVID-19 vaccines, as the second phase of the country's vaccination program kicks in.
HARARE, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government has so far approved four COVID-19 vaccines, as the second phase of the country's vaccination program kicks in.
Apart from the Sinopharm vaccine from China which is currently in use following the launch of the first phase of the vaccination program two weeks ago, the government, through the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, has also approved the use of Sinovac, also from China, Covaxin from India and Sputnik V from Russia.
With the second phase of the vaccination program having been approved, the government has also urged companies intending to buy vaccines for their employees to procure only those that are registered in the country, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Thursday.
The first phase, which covered those in the frontline, was undertaken following a donation by the Chinese government of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, while the second phase will target vulnerable groups, among them people with chronic diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis and diabetes.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 34,400 people were vaccinated countrywide in the first two weeks of the rollout program.
Progress made in the initial stages had prompted the Cabinet to approve the second stage, the Herald newspaper quoted the official as saying.
A woman gets a jab of Sinopharm vaccine at a hospital in Gokwe, Midlands Province, Zimbabwe, on Feb. 22, 2021. (Xinhua/Wanda)
"All those intending to procure vaccines for their employees must procure only registered vaccines in Zimbabwe. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will be purchasing the vaccines on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe. Cabinet would also like to unveil the guidelines for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by the private sector in Zimbabwe," she said.
Following wide-ranging consultations with the private sector, all approved vaccines would be procured through the National Vaccine Procurement Fund managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
"Organizations, individuals and any partners wishing to donate towards vaccine procurement will do so to the President through the fund. Donations received and pledges made to date will be announced," she said.
Mutsvangwa said those interested in buying vaccines for their workers would deposit their funds into the National Vaccine Procurement Fund after approval by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
The National Vaccine Procurement Fund will procure on behalf of the organizations guided by the national procurement guidelines.
To ensure safety and efficacy, vaccines shall be kept at the Central Vaccines Stores under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Cold Chain guidelines shall apply.
Only trained and registered health professionals shall be authorized to administer vaccines, and only the Ministry of Health and Child Care shall be responsible for issuing all COVID-19 vaccination certificates, Mutsvangwa stressed.
"All vaccines administered at private institutions will be transported by the Ministry of Health and Child Care medical staff under guard by the Zimbabwe Republic Police," she added. ■