RESIDENTS of Epworth near Harare are warming up to Covid-19 vaccination despite earlier phobia towards the government-implemented inoculation programme.
The majority of residents were initially reluctant to get vaccinated, fearing health complications.
However, their attitude has since changed after seeing prominent figures such President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga getting their jabs.
A visit to Epworth Polyclinic by The NewsHawks crew on Tuesday revealed that people were queuing for their jabs as early as 7am.
By 8am, the vaccination waiting benches were full and some people had to be accommodated in an adjacent sitting area.
Epworth Polyclinic health worker Fortunate Gombwe said they were encouraging people to get vaccinated and that the number of people being objected had increased due to community education initiatives.
“We are encouraging people to come and get vaccinated, we are mainly encouraging people with diabetes, blood pressure, asthma and those on ARVs (anti-retroviral drugs) to come forward and be vaccinated against this virus,” she said.
“We are also encouraging the elderly to be vaccinated so let us say a young person comes to get vaccinated here, the onus is also on them to bring their elderly relatives so that they also get vaccinated.
“When this (vaccination) programme started, people were afraid of getting vaccinated, they had fears of dying and getting health complications, but as health workers we went through the communities and educated them on the importance of getting vaccinated. Now it seems that people have heeded the message and they are coming in droves.”
Epworth resident Simbarashe Chibvure, who was vaccinated at the clinic, said his motivation for getting the jab had come from seeing all his friends get vaccinated the week before.
“Most of my friends in Domboramwari got vaccinated last week. Initially we had planned as a group that we will not get vaccinated because to be honest with you we were afraid that this vaccine will kill us. After seeing other people getting vaccinated, I then realised that it was important to be vaccinated so that I could be safe from Covid-19.”
Bernard Churumanzi, an elderly resident who was waiting in the vaccination queue, said he was getting vaccinated so as to protect his life and those around him.
“As you can see, I am an old man now and I heard on the radio that Covid-19 was very dangerous to old people like me so I am getting vaccinated in order to protect myself and those around me because if I get infected my family and my neighbours might also get infected,” he said.
Zimbabwe launched its national Covid-19 vaccination programme using the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine on 22 February 2021.
As of Wednesday, 231 632 people have received their first dose while 30 496 had received their second dose as part of a government plan to achieve 60% herd immunity.
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