Zimbabwe demand for first dose of vaccine surges

The demand for Covid-19 vaccines is rising significantly, putting pressure on centres where first jabs are offered, although all centres give second jabs.

Booking systems for first jabs are now being organised, with Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals trying out the system.

All second jabs are automatically booked with this dose given precisely four weeks after the first at the same vaccination point.

Government is intensifying the Covid-19 vaccination programme, but with the widening of the programme to include hotspots across Zimbabwe, at present in Harare first jabs are obtainable at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Sally Mugabe Central Hospital and Edith Opperman Clinic.

This restriction, with the growing demand, has seen long queues as people eager for their first jab wait for their turn.

Zimbabwe is expecting an additional two million doses tomorrow, which will soon mean that most centres across the country should have adequate supplies for both first and second jabs and then with regular supplies of 1,5 million doses a month as now arranged, all teams should be able to give both jabs.

Parirenyatwa recently came up with a booking system to try and minimise the number of people queuing to get vaccinated.

Harare residents who spoke to The Herald yesterday said although the booking system was a good initiative, demand was higher and they hoped more centres will be able to give first doses of the vaccine soon.

Parirenyatwa Hospital spokesperson Mr Linos Dhire said the hospital is at the moment using the Sinopharm vaccine for first doses and Sinovac for second doses. People get the same vaccine for the second dose they had on the first dose so that means four weeks ago Parirenyatwa was giving Sinovac for first doses.

Mr Dhire said although the number of people coming to get vaccinated had increased, the booking system will de-congest vaccination points.

Chiedza township residents being vaccinated on Sunday night at Hwata shopping centre in Karoi. Residents had refused to leave the vaccination centre at 3.30 pm demanding to be vaccinated. — Picture: Conrad Mupesa

“It is a way of managing the huge numbers that are coming to be vaccinated. If we get around 2 000 people in a day and we have capacity to do around 1 000 for both, the first and second doses, there is no need to keep the rest at the hospital.

“So in order to de-congest the hospital and to give the public some certainty and assurance, we give a date on a first come first serve basis to those who cannot be vaccinated on a particular day.

“This is working very well and consultations with the public have shown that they are very happy with the arrangement rather than coming to the hospital several times trying their luck,” said Mr Dhire.

Mr Tungamirai Gwatidzo said he had been looking for the vaccine at many centres for over a week.

“I am not sure if I will get the shot today or not, but I would assume that the authorities ensure that if one books, they come and get assisted on the same day,” he said.

Another resident Mr Paul Mavhura said the booking system will help people who could not afford to queue due to work commitments.

“I have been failing to get vaccinated because I could not queue because of work, but I really do need the vaccine.

“We are asking the Government to come up with ways to de-congest centres so that those who book can come and get the shot without waiting for long,” he said.

Many people who were waiting to get the vaccine called on Government to boost the numbers of teams and increase supply of vaccines to other centres so more can get first shots.

Mr Ronald Mudavanhu said he had booked on Sunday and got his jab by 10am yesterday.

He encouraged Zimbabweans to not wait any longer to get the shot as it could lead to more people dying. – Herald

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