IN A bid to curb the effects of an impending fourth wave of new Covid-19 infections following discovery of the Omicron variant, Cabinet has approved the setting up vaccination sites at bus ranks.
The move is expected to encourage more people to get jabbed as the service would be brought closer to those in need.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa made the announcement during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare Tuesday.
“Focus continues to be on preventing a fourth wave of the Covid-19 outbreak. Accordingly, Cabinet adopted the following additional measures: Government will be establishing vaccination sites at the main intra and inter-city bus termini, so as to ensure that those not vaccinated but wish to do so can have doses administered before they board the public transport.”
She said soon, all unvaccinated citizens will be barred from boarding public service vehicles,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Please note that there will be a time when people will not be allowed to board public transport without a valid vaccination card.”
There were 7 922 active Covid-19 cases that have been reported.
“Cabinet notes, with concern, that there has been a sharp increase in the average total number of new cases reports per day during the past two weeks. Government, therefore, calls upon citizens to strictly observe the national and World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 protocols, most importantly the regulations contained in Statutory Instrument (SI) 267 announced last week, which will be strictly enforced.”
The minister said as the nation pushes to attain 60% Covid-19 herd immunity, which currently stands at nearly 40%, the Ministry of Health and Child Care will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on the vaccination blitz of the 16 to 17-year age group in schools.
Mutsvangwa said Cabinet received an update on the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a report on the procurement and roll-out of vaccines, as presented by the Chairman of the Ministers’ National Covid-19 Committee, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Constantino Chiwenga.
“Regarding the national vaccination programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that, as at 6 December 2021, a total of 3 882 255 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2 892 366 people had received their second dose. The cumulative number of 1st and 2nd doses of vaccines administered during the week under review increased to 190 899 from the 148 980 administered the previous week, indicating that the total number of doses administered during the week had increased,” she said
On the procurement of vaccines, Mutsvangwa said 1,25 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines were delivered on 6 December 2021, constituting the first batch of the 2,5 million doses procured. The remaining 1,25 million vaccines of the order are expected before the end of the week.
The country, she said, was also expecting a donation of one million doses from China.