Zimbabwe has continued to lead in the Southern Africa in procuring and distributing the Covid-19 vaccine.
Zimbabwe started rolling out the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine on February 22 this year and reports has it that by last Friday, 571 460 people had received their first dose while 203 781 had received both doses of the vaccine.
Statistics from the online research platform, Our World in Data shows that neighboring countries need to play catch-up to Zimbabwe.
The data shows that Zimbabwe has vaccinated 3.5% of its 14.5 million citizens, hence leading in SADC Covid-19 Vaccination Procurement.
In comparison, Botswana has a vaccination rate of 2.27% of its population, Namibia 1.35%, South Africa 0.77%, and Zambia at 0.49%.
In March, President Emmerson Mnangagwa received his Covid-19 vaccine leading by example to the Zimbabweans.
Vice President, who is also Minister of Health, Constantino Chiwenga was the first Zimbabwean to receive the jab on February 18 as the country began its roll-out of the Covid -19 vaccination program and on 18 March he got his second shot of China’s Sinophram vaccine dose at Wilkins Hospital Harare.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Public Servants Association (PSA), which represents more than 235 000 public-sector employees in South Africa, released a statement lamenting the slow pace of the vaccine roll-out in the country.
The PSA reported that, it had observed the slow pace of Covid-19 vaccine roll out in South Africa which has caused citizens to cross the boarder to get vaccinated in Zimbabwe.
“Noted with concern the slow pace of Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in South Africa, which is causing citizens to cross the border to get vaccinated in Zimbabwe. This is a slap in the face for government’s roll-out programme whilst other countries are already in an advanced stage with roll-out processes”. The statement read in part.
Although there is no data confirming that South Africans have become vaccine tourists and travelled to Zimbabwe, this could become a trend soon.
President Mnangagwa recently said, “Zimbabweans will get the vaccine for free, but for foreigners who come here are allowed, but they will receive the vaccine at a cost”.
Last month, the Zimbabwean government confirmed that it was planning on distributing more vaccines to the town of Beitbridge, which borders South Africa.
A vaccination campaign to have every adult in Victoria Falls vaccinated was also launched last month to insure that the tourist city was a safe holiday destination.