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Zim prepares to roll out Covid vaccines for children aged 16 to 17

Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 vaccination programme for children between the ages of 16 to 17 will commence immediately after specialist paediatricians approve its roll out, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has announced.

This could be a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to protect the populace.

The only vaccine eligible for children in this age group will be the Chinese made, Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine.

“Based on the available scientific data in line with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe guidance, the specialist paediatricians have recommended the vaccination of the 16 to 17 year group with the Sinovac Covid 19 vaccine, the protocol for the younger age groups is still under consideration,” said the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

The health ministry advised all provinces, secondary schools, colleges, universities and vaccination centres that they were now required to start the vaccination campaign of this age group with immediate effect.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is still raging worldwide, and Zimbabwe is not spared. In the absence of effective medical and health interventions, while adopting physical distancing and masking, herd immunity remains the unmet need for the Zimbabwean population. The government is accelerating the implementation of the national vaccination programme,” said the ministry.

To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 133 007 cases and 4 679 people have succumbed to the Covid-19 disease.

The health ministry said as of October 31, 2021, Zimbabwe has reached a national coverage of 38 percent of the targeted population, which is 10 million people (60 percent required to reach herd immunity).

Source: Ministry of Health and Child Care

“The government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care is determined that Zimbabwe achieves herd immunity by end of December 2021,” noted the ministry.

Globally and nationally public health discussions have been ongoing regarding extending vaccination to children and other special groups such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Meanwhile, reports say in the United States, its Covid-19 vaccination programme for children between the ages of five and 11 will commence as of next week, said the White House.

Children in that age group will be able to get Pfizer-BioNTech jabs at paediatricians’ offices, medical clinics, pharmacies and community health centres.

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