Zimbabwe to procure 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine





Zimbabwe is importing 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as a pool of scientists working on the procurement and rollout strategy gives government the nod to bring the medicines into the country.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube revealed this in an interview saying government had set aside US$100m million to procure the vaccines.

Ncube also revealed that Zimbabwe has so far used $25b in the fight against COVID19 since the first cases recorded in the country in March 2020.

He said Zimbabwe was negotiating with China, India and Russia for the supply of vaccines.

“We have set aside a minimum of US$100 million equivalent for the vaccine and the way we have calculated is we are assuming the cost of US$5 a shot and multiply that by TWO as each person will get TWO shots. We are targeting 10 million citizens which is about the herd immunity [and] is about 60 percent of the population.

“We have adequate resources, mobilized adequate resources in our budget to be able to meet the cost of the vaccine. All options are on the table, we are negotiating with China, India and Russia.

“We are having conversations around the COVAX initiative, around the AU initiative which has already sourced 270 million shots of the vaccines and our share is in there.”

“We are in conversations with the private sector for them to lend support in bolstering our resources so that it can truly a shared national project in terms of acquiring the vaccines.”

Ncube added: “Since March last year we have used ZWL25 Billion and it has been spread right across different aspects namely to cover the risk allowances of health workers and other frontline workers. It covered the upgrade of health facilities and also there have procurement of other materials, drugs, PPEs among other things we need to fight this pandemic.”

Ncube’s comments follows a surge in COVID-19 confirmed cases and subsequent deaths since the festive season.

President Mnangagwa recently admitted that the situation in Zimbabwe was dire.

He, however, assured the nation, in state of the nation address, that government was engaging vaccine manufacturers so that Zimbabwe starts administering it.

“Government has and is engaging countries that have developed vaccines. Help and relief is on the way, our experts who have been assessing different vaccines are very close to finalizing the course to recommend to our nation.

“A course which will bring relief and which we will roll out across the length and breadth of our nation so we do not lose more lives than has been inevitable,” President Mnangagwa said.

However, the rollout plan is still ambiguous with Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga last week saying the country was adopting a “measured approach” to the vaccines.

He said government was monitoring developments in the vaccination in other countries before rolling out its process.

In a bid to curtail the spread of the virus, government has also extended a National Lockdown which started early January to February 15 amid fears of a new COVID-19 variants in the country.

Zimbabwe had, as of January 28, 2021, a cumulative 32 646 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1 160 deaths.