President Mnangagwa gets COVID vaccine, urges citizens to get vaccinated

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe got his first dose of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, as the country’s citizens are encouraged to adopt the vaccines. 

President Mnangagwa received the vaccine in Victoria Falls, a tourist destination on the Zambian border, where he also launched the country’s Covid-19 immunisation campaign’s second step. 

His injection was seen by leaders of political parties and was shown live on national television.

“Let me reiterate the global call by the World Health Organization that ‘no one is safe, until everyone is safe’…I, therefore, challenge all of us in our respective communities to accept the vaccination programme and to shun vaccination hesitancy, misinformation and the negative conspiracy theories,” President Mnangagwa said.

“Getting vaccinated is a personal and family responsibility as well as a national obligation.”

The government says it plans to vaccinate the entire population of Victoria Falls over the next 28 days in order to help the tourism industry, which has been seriously harmed by the prolonged lockdowns. 

Zimbabwe purchased 200,000 Sinovac vaccine doses from China earlier this month. It has also received 400,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, which was donated by China. 

On February 18, the first phase of the country’s vaccination campaign began, with frontline staff such as healthcare workers, border authorities, and security forces being targeted.

The second phase of Covid-19 vaccination program in Zimbabwe is aimed at school teachers, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, and religious leaders. 

Zimbabwe plans to vaccinate 60% of its population, or 10 million people, in order to achieve herd immunity and prevent the coronavirus from spreading uncontrollably. 

Following a second wave of Covid-19 shortly after the festive season, the country has begun to reopen its economy, with the number of new infections declining dramatically.

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