Mnangagwa Reverses Stance On UK Vaccine Offer

President Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to backtrack on his earlier decision not to accept a coronavirus vaccine donation from the United Kingdom (UK).

In his address to the nation on the new COVID-19 lockdown measures on Monday, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would soon receive a vaccine sourced under the COVAX facility from the UK.

Zimbabwean government officials had earlier on accused the UK of arm-twisting Harare to accept the vaccine offer.

The UK, through its ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson, last year offered to vaccinate 20% of Zimbabwe’s population against the coronavirus for free but the offer was refused.

But in his statement yesterday, Mnangagwa mentioned the UK among countries from which Zimbabwe will soon procure vaccinations. He said:

Vaccines from other countries namely Russia, India and the United Kingdom are also on the way.

That should see our pace of vaccinating willing Zimbabweans increase in tempo, thus drawing us nearer the goal of achieving herd immunity.

Addressing reporters during a post-cabinet media briefing last week, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe was in talks with Russia, India and China for vaccines. She said:

India, like China, has also offered a donation and an option to purchase commercially and modalities for this offer are still being worked out.

Mutsvangwa also said Zimbabwe would “take decisions independently in the national interest, without undue influence”, remarks which appeared targeted at the UK government after the country’s embassy said Zimbabwe was yet to take up Britain’s offer for vaccines.

On Monday an Air Zimbabwe jet brought 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China that was donated by the Chinese government.

However, reports indicate that the Sinopharm vaccine can only be administered to people with no underlying health conditions who are between the ages of 19 and 59.

More: NewsDay

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