200 000 doses down, 19.8 million to go as Zimbabwe receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

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  • Sinopharm vaccine donation from China received today
  • 600 000 additional doses purchased from the same company expected next month
  • At least 10% of total vaccine doses rolled out in the country expected to be from the Chinese state owned company

Zimbabwe today (15 February 2021) received its first batch of 200 000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by the government of China and now awaits 600 000 more doses purchased from the same company to arrive in early March.

The 200 000 doses which will cater for 100 000 people as one person is supposed to receive two doses are expected to be rolled out to frontline workers who include health workers, border and airport staff, funeral parlour staff, and security personnel who are all at the top of the vaccination priority list.

Meanwhile, according to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, upon receiving the 600 000 doses purchased on top of the donation, the country will move to purchase 1,2 million more doses for its target of buying 1.8 million Sinopharm vaccine doses.

“Next month we will be acquiring additional vaccines from China to the tune of at least 600,000 doses and the programme will continue as we head towards the target of 1.8 million doses,” the minister said at the vaccine receiving ceremony at the Robert Mugabe International airport.

This would effectively mean that at least 10% of vaccine doses rolled out in Zimbabwe would be from the Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company as Zimbabwe is targeting 20 million COVID-19 vaccines to be rolled out to 10 million people in order to achieve herd immunity. The treasury earlier reported that it put aside US$100 million for the pertinent transactions.

Something which might be of concern, however, is that Sinopharm announced on the 30th December 2020 that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was only 79% effective, significantly lower than that of Pfizer and Moderna but, it was shown to be significantly more effective than AstraZeneca’s Oxford vaccine against the South African variant of the virus.

On top of the vaccines donated and bought from Sinopharm, Zimbabwe has also been allocated 1,152,000 vaccine doses under the global COVAX facility and the country is also eligible for an additional three million doses under a separate African Union vaccine plan in partnership with Afreximbank.

The country is also set to receive another donation of Sputnik V vaccine from the Russian government and Russian giant diamond mining company Alrosa while it also has plans to purchase more doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII).

As at February 14, Zimbabwe had 35,172 confirmed cases, including 30, 601 recoveries and 1 400 deaths with the country having been on level four lockdown for over five weeks following a surge in cases in December 2020.

The current lockdown measures are meant to expire today and President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to make a speech on the way forward later on in the day amid a decline in the daily average of cases, the death toll, and the first batch of vaccine doses landing in the country.

Equity Axis News

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