On 22 February 2021, Zimbabwe launched their national COVID-19 vaccination program using the BBIBP-CorV/Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. Phase 1 of the vaccinations targeted health care workers only.
However, when the country received an additional one million doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination programme has now been opened to everyone. In addition, the country also received more than 35,000 doses of the Covaxin vaccine donated by the Indian government. In Zimbabwe, as of 5 April 2021, a cumulative number of 123454 had received their first dose and 22056 had received their 2nd dose of the vaccine.
Zimbabwe is not spared from vaccine misconceptions and vaccine hesitancy leading to low uptake. Hence there is need for influential people to lead by example in order to promote vaccine uptake. The Board Chairperson of AFENET, Professor Mufuta Tshimanga took his first and second doses of the Sinopharm vaccine on the 2nd and 30th of March 2021 respectively. (picture insert). As the Board Chairman of AFENET and Director of the Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Program, this is indeed a milestone in encouraging others to take up the vaccine.
He has been on the forefront of encouraging those within and outside the network to get vaccinated including prioritizing the residents who are also frontline workers. The Director of AFENET, Dr Simon Antara has also received his vaccination.
Figure 1: Professor Mufuta Tshimanga getting his second dose of the Sinopharm Vaccine, Wilkins Hospital, Harare Zimbabwe