Zimbabwe to Register Sinovac Vaccine as Program Starts

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Zimbabwe will soon register Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine for approval as it seeks to boost supplies for its Covid-19 vaccination program that’s due to start on Thursday.

“We are in the process of registering Sinovac right now,” John Mangwiro, the deputy health minister, told lawmakers in the capital, Harare, according to a transcript of a speech on parliament’s website. “They have given us phase 1, phase 2 and we are waiting for documents for the next phase, and they will be registered shortly.”

The southern African nation took delivery of 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines from China on Monday. It targets distribution of these shots to high-risk groups including health-care workers, and customs and immigration officials. The new coronavirus strain first detected in South Africa that some vaccines are less effective against is estimated to account for about 61% of cases in Zimbabwe.

The government is “engaging with over 15 vaccine manufacturers” to boost supply, Mangwiro said.

Business groups including miners, bankers and manufacturers will purchase vaccines worth $7 million to compliment government efforts to secure more doses, the Harare-based Financial Gazette newspaper reported Thursday.

“There are financial commitments from various firms in this regard so far,” Henry Ruzvidzo, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries was quoted as saying by the publication.

“The vaccines give us reason for optimism as repeated cycles of lockdowns take a heavy toll on the viability of business.”

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