‘People with chronic diseases will be vaccinated’:Dr Mangwiro

Deputy health minister Dr John Mangwiro has dismissed reports that people with chronic diseases will not be vaccinated against Covid-19, noting they are in great need of the dose in order to support their compromised immune systems.

Dr Mangwiro made these remarks during the Question and Answer segment in Parliament, Wednesday.

The question had been posed by Dr Thokozani Khuphe who had inquired on media reports making rounds citing that people with chronic diseases such as HIV and cancer would not be vaccinated.

Government began the Sinopharm vaccine program on Thursday, with 49 000 health workers and thousands of other high-risk frontline staff set to be vaccinated under the first phase.

“People with cancer, HIV, diabetes mellitus and hypertension have weakened immunities.  We have no policy to say that they are not going to be vaccinated – actually, these people need the vaccine much more because they need to be protected,” said Dr Mangwiro.

“These are the people we are saying, those with underlying conditions and the elderly – we are targeting people who we know have weak immunities.  The elderly have weakness in their immunity due to age – their marrow, reaction and production of antibodies is much slower now.”

Dr Mangwiro explained that those with underlying conditions need to get the vaccine so that they can fight the virus better when they get it because their antibodies would have been enhanced from the vaccine.  

“We cannot discriminate and it is not correct to say that they are not going to be vaccinated.  It is clear that it is not correct – those must be just the ordinary rumours that always go round the mill.  In short, we are vaccinating them because they need the vaccine much more than those people whose immunities are okay,” he said.

Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna suggested that the Ministry of Health avails pamphlets to enable citizens who have no access to electronic gadgets and internet to get information about the vaccine.

“Is it possible to have pamphlets and some documentation that state the characteristics of the vaccine and the vaccines that we hope our people to be administered with?  So that we, as legislators, can give to our people who have no access to television and radio communication including distributing these pamphlets in remote areas so that people can read for themselves on the characteristics of these vaccines to ward off speculation,” Nduna said.

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