‘Vaccination centres must not turn away people without documentation’

Vaccination centres must not turn away people without any identification documents, as it is crucial to protect everybody from the deadly Covid-19, a government official has said.

This comes on the backdrop of complaints from undocumented people who have been turned away from vaccination centres.

To date, as of September 8, 2021, Zimbabwe has managed to fully vaccinate 1 770 352 people with both jabs while 2 782 103 have received their first vaccine dose

The country needs to vaccinate 60 percent of the population, about 10 million people to reach herd immunity.  

Deputy Minister of Health and Care, Dr John Mangwiro emphasised that no one must be turned away as there were various means of identifying someone.

“We have ways of identifying each other in Zimbabwe. If a person is from a certain area, we do not want them to be turned away. There must be a way of identifying them,” he said in Parliament Wednesday.

“If he is coming from high density or low-density suburbs, surely there is a councillor or someone who can witness that they are from the village or if it is in rural areas, there are so many ways of identifying each other. We do not necessarily want to have someone chased away and yet you know who he is.”

The deputy minister underscored that Covid-19 was a ‘serious’ disease and people had to receive the necessary protection.

“So we want every Zimbabwean to be vaccinated. We try by all means to make sure that the vaccination is done. We do not want anyone turned away because today he is not carrying an ID card yet he has come with the wife or husband who can correctly identify them,” Dr Mangwiro said.

“We definitely want us to get vaccinated and we try as much as possible, where there is a doubt, to get assistance and make sure that everyone gets vaccinated without problems.”

Meanwhile, when pressed for an update on how the country has progressed in its vaccination drive and effects, Dr Mangwiro said herd immunity cannot happen overnight, although that was the aim.

Bulawayo MP Jasmine Toffa asked him to explain more on reports that 90 percent of people who had died from Covid-19 were unvaccinated.  

“How does that compare because only 10 percent of the nation has been vaccinated and you are talking about 90 percent? This is 90 percent of what and what percentage of the vaccinated has died?” she asked.

Dr Mangwiro responded that the government would continue vaccinating until the target was reached.

“At one point it shall be 10 percent of the population vaccinated and 20 percent until we reach the herd immunity. The vaccines have been bought and they are in place. We will continue to vaccinate until we get the herd immunity, which is the safe number where we say people have been vaccinated to prevent passing on of the virus to others,” he said.

The deputy minister noted that “vaccination still remains the same and the percentage of the people who have been vaccinated right away and off the cuff, it is difficult.

“What I know is that we are going towards getting what we call herd immunity.  Herd immunity does not say everyone is vaccinated. We have vaccinated enough numbers such that we can part the cycle of transmission. There are people who may not be vaccinated but it does not follow that they are all going to be vaccinated. “

He added that the country was ‘just’ vaccinating enough people to minimise the passing on of Covid-19 to a level where it would become safe to open and run the economy properly.

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