HOSPITALS and clinics across Zimbabwe are running out of Covid-19 vaccines with many people wanting to get their first jab being turned away.
An analysis of the daily situation report (sitrep) published by the Health and Child Care ministry also shows a massive drop in the administration of first doses from as high as 22 248, administered on 7 May when Zimbabwe reached the half million mark, to as low as 1 139 on Monday this week.
As of 25 May, a total of 639 553 people had received the first dose while 228 437 had received the second dose.
Zimbabwe by 30 March had received over 1.2 million vaccines from China and India. The national Covid-19 response coordinator told The NewsHawks last week that the country is continuing to receive vaccines, with 100 000 more received last week.
Zimbabwe had planned on buying one million vaccines per month in the second quarter, according to Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.
At the beginning of the year, he said that the government had set aside US$100 million to acquire vaccines as he was just waiting for the go-ahead from scientists on which vaccines to acquire.
Zimbabwe has registered four vaccines for use, including the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac, the Russian Sputnik V and the Indian Covaxin.
Covaxin is the vaccine currently being administered and Zimbabwe received just 75 000 doses. In Harare, there are long queues at the few health facilities still administering the first dose.
On Saturday, many health centres in Harare, including the private clinics, were turning away people who wanted to get their first dose. Parirenyatwa Hospital, Avondale Clinic and the Cimas Clinic also did not offer the first dose.
At Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital, vaccines ran out around mid-day while people were still in the queue.
The NewsHawks visited Wilkins again on Monday where people were waiting to be addressed by hospital administration on when they could return for the first shot.
Again, on Wednesday morning the health facility, which is the main vaccine centre, did not have the first dose, with people being told to check in the afternoon.
“I have been there three times with no joy, to be honest I am almost giving up. If it is the same story again today (Thursday), I don’t think I will try again because I’m spending my time going back and forth,” 37-year-old Ruth Nyamukova told The NewsHawks.
While officials at Kaguvi Building (Health and Child Care ministry offices) have been mum about the situation, Bulawayo provincial medical director Welcome Mlilo told state media this week that the province had suspended first-dose vaccination until it receives the next consignment.
Zimbabwe has been commended for its vaccination programme which began on 18 February.
As at 21 May, Zimbabwe was ranked 81 out of 163 countries in the world with the most doses administered.
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