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COVID-19 vaccines: President Mnangagwa pays tribute to China

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has applauded China for taking a leading role in contributing to Zimbabwe’s national vaccine deployment strategy.

Addressing the nation on Thursday, President Mnangagwa praised China for its consistent humane policy of treating Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods.

“Allow me to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt and sincere gratitude to the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, the government and the people for their kind donation of 200 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine,” he said.

This kind of gesture was in addition to the numerous donations, support, and interventions made by China since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“It further attests to the fact that the People’s Republic of China is indeed a true friend of Zimbabwe, whose relations have been enhanced to strategic partnership and cooperation.”

Additionally, the President said above China’s support, under the African-Union Global Fund COVAX Facility and other bilateral arrangements, Zimbabwe will secure sufficient vaccines.

The President expressed his gratitude to the frontline health workers for showing dedication and commitment in curtailing the pandemic.

“I would like to express our Nation’s deep indebtedness to all our frontline staff in the fight against the pandemic. Their continued exemplary dedication, sacrifice, and commitment to duty is commendable.”

He applauded people for abiding by lockdown enforced measures and World Health Organisation(WHO) Covid-19 guidelines and urged everyone to remain vigilant during these trying times.

“On behalf of my Government, I would like to applaud you my fellow countrymen and women for your resilience and continued adherence to Covid-19 lockdown measures and the WHO protocols. Your care for one another, positive attitude and public health behaviour have brought about the relatively flattened curve.

“Together in our unison and through our actions and our deployment of scientific options and prayer, for our beloved nation, there is light at the end of the tunnel, we will win this war against Covid-19. We have not lost hope for a better future, we keep on moving.”

Pertaining to the overall National Response Strategy, President Mnangagwa said it has reached a stage where government can now introduce vaccines as a second front preventive measure and assured that the vaccines are going to be freely accessed and stressed that citizens’ safety will be considered.

“As such, Covid-19 vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe, will soon be introduced. These will be state funded and free. The National Vaccination Strategy will continue to be guided by the best available scientific evidence and the safety to all Zimbabweans remaining a priority.

“A National vaccine deployment framework has also been finalised. The initial objective is to inoculate at least 60% of the population to achieve population immunity.”

The first phase of the inoculation of the vaccine, he said, will see the frontline workers, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions being prioritised.

President Mnangagwa added that in line with the government’s policy of pooling national effort and resources, the Government will also partner with the corporate world and other players in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and related consumables.

In addition to this, President Mnangagwa said, “Nevertheless, Government is aware that vaccines do not provide 100% protection or impart immunity. With this in mind, the present World Health Organisation public health protocols remain critical in the second phase and must continue to be adhered to at all times even after vaccines have been administered.

“I once again urge us all to remain resolute and hopeful. This pandemic and the constraints, insecurities, anxieties it has brought along will surely end. Let us not despair, Zimbabwe is rising. Together we will cross the finish line and achieve Vision 2030.”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende