A significant number of people across the country are hesitant to take the Sinopharm vaccine, saying there is inadequate information on the vaccine and its side effects.
Others said they are unwilling to be vaccinated due to their religious convictions, general mistrust about the vaccine and medical reasons as they suffer from chronic diseases.
Zimbabwe’s vaccination programme is underway, with the government having received 200 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine that were donated by China, which is yet to donate more.
The government intends to procure more vaccines to cater for at least 60 percent of the total population to achieve herd immunity.
A 2021 survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) to ascertain uptake levels of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine among Zimbabweans established that a lot of people are ignorant about a plethora of issues around the acquisition, administration and side effects of the vaccine.
A total of 561 participants took part in the survey via ZCA’s WhatsApp structure groups.
“This is a cause for concern as the Covid-19 pandemic has had dire effects globally. One respondent to the survey had this to ask; “Sorry to ask is this vaccine compulsory or its by choice?” illustrating the need for intensive information dissemination by the responsible authorities,” read the survey.
The groups are made up of church leaders, women and youths across the 10 provinces in the country and survey areas in which the survey questions were administered include: Chegutu, Gwanda, Chinhoyi, Plumtree, Binga, Hwange, Lupane, Beitbridge, Chirumhanzu, Masvingo , Bulawayo, Gweru, Nkayi, The National hub (all provinces) and the secretariat group.
The reasons for those who said yes included, having been vaccinated against other ailments before, confidence in the scientific process and that there were no other alternatives available to curb infections.
“The reasons for those who said no to vaccination included, inadequate information about the vaccine, its side effects, religious convictions, medical reasons (that is side effects and chronic diseases) and mistrust,” read the survey.
“Reasons for those who said they unsure as to be vaccinated were they would decide after receiving adequate information about the vaccine, they will assess the effectiveness of the vaccine, need to assess the possible side effects of the vaccine,” said the survey, which highlighted that respondents in this category were scared of the virus but were hesitant to be vaccinated.
ZCA concluded that there is generally a low uptake to the Sinopharm vaccine.
“Many people are not willing to take it as yet, despite that the government is working towards procuring as many vaccines as possible to make sure that at least 60 percent of the population is vaccinated against the coronavirus,” said the body.
“Our recommendations are:Intensify awareness raising initiatives on the covid 19 vaccine. Partner with other keep stakeholders to augment government efforts in the fight against the coronavirus. Make sure that Covid 19 resources are managed in a transparent and accountable manner,” stated the survey.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, as of March 8, 2021 the cumulative number of frontline workers to have been vaccinated is 35 761.
However, the rollout campaign has brought a glut of challenges ranging from information gaps, misappropriation of resources and fear among citizens.