The COVID-19 third wave has triggered a stampede for vaccines in Zimbabwe as thousands throng vaccination centres across the country to get the lifesaving jab.
A sharp rise in new infections has resulted in a fourfold increase in the number of people being inoculated across the country within 24 hours.
According to data released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, on Thursday (yesterday), 826 new cases were recorded while 10 526 people received their first COVID-19 jab, with 15 940 getting a second.
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The country’s vaccination programme had been marred by apathy and vaccine hesitancy since it was launched by Vice-President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga in February this year.
However, health experts have attributed the stampede to fear, as it has been discovered that most of the people who are falling seriously sick were unvaccinated.
COVID-19 national taskforce chief coordinator Agnes Mahomva on Thursday attributed the rise in the number of people who are being vaccinated to the realisation that the vaccines were a lifesaver. She said:
The public has come to realise that vaccines are helping people from not falling sick. Vaccines in the country remain for free.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa said fear of the coronavirus was driving people to get the vaccine. He said:
This is due to panic, people are now stampeding to get the vaccine because of fear.
It has been shown that the majority of people who are falling seriously sick were those who are not vaccinated.
So people are now realising the importance of the vaccine and they are now running around to get inoculated.
Masvingo provincial COVID-19 taskforce spokesperson Rodgers Irimayi recently said that receiving vaccines does not mean that one cannot test positive for the virus but those who are vaccinated avoid severe symptoms when infected by the virus.