The Government has directed secondary schools, colleges, universities and vaccination centres in all provinces to commence the vaccination of the 16 to 17 years age group against COVID-19 with immediate effect.
In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the specialist paediatricians have recommended the vaccination of the 16 to 17 years age group with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
It said the decision to innoculate the said age group with Sinovac was based on the available scientific data in line with the guidance of the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ).
The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging worldwide, and Zimbabwe is not spared. To date, the country has recorded 132 926 cases and 4 675 people have succumbed to the disease.
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.
The programme has reached a national coverage of 38% of the targeted population, as of 31st October 2021.
Globally and nationally, public health discussions have been ongoing regarding extending vaccination to children and other special groups such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
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 years-age group with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
The protocol for the younger age groups is still under consideration.
The Ministry wishes to advise the public that COVID-19 vaccination of the 16 to 17 years age group has been approved.
All the provinces, secondary schools, colleges, universities and vaccination centres are hereby required to commence the vaccination campaign of this age group with immediate effect.
For the avoidance of doubt, the only vaccine type eligible for this age group is the SINOVAC vaccine.
The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, is determined that Zimbabwe achieves herd immunity by end of December 2021.