Zimbabwe Daily Covid-19 Vaccinations Hit Record High

Zimbabwe ramped up daily Covid-19 vaccinations to a record as the government pins its hope on a faster rollout to help the economy recover from its second contraction into two years.

On Thursday 29,750 people were vaccinated, the highest number since the public roll out plan began earlier this year. To date, 895,980 people have received their first dose and 595,417 a second, according to Ministry of Health data.

The southern African country will now go “full throttle” on its vaccination drive after receiving its biggest consignment of shots on Thursday of 2 million Sinovac vaccines, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told reporters.

The country is targeting 100,000 daily vaccinations to achieve herd immunity by year end, he said.

“When people are vaccinated it is easier for the government to open up all aspects of the economy, so it is also about economic recovery,” Ncube said.

The nation that is battling a surge in infections and one of the world’s fastest pace of deaths from Covid-19 infections, last month announced new curbs to contain the spread.

The country is forecasting economic growth of 7.4% this year after estimating a 4.2% contraction in 2020 and a 6% decline in 2019.

To date, Zimbabwe, which has a population of about 15 million, has received 4.2 million vaccines while another 1.5 million doses are expected this week, according to Ncube.

Convincing people to take the vaccines will be crucial to the country’s rollout plan, said Norman Matara, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights.

Vaccine Hesitancy

The rollout that began Feb. 18 initially got off to a slow start. This was largely due to a shortage of vaccines as well as a lack of communication coupled with anti-vaccine propaganda and the haphazard way vaccines were being distributed, Matara said by phone Friday.

Many of these issues have now been resolved. “The structures, the human resources are there and the vaccines are now there, but what is now needed is the buy in to convince people to get vaccinated,” he said.

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