GOVERNMENT says it will only roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme to teenagers after conducting phase three clinical trials.
More than two weeks ago, the government announced that it had extended the vaccination programme to teenagers, after scientists gave the green light for the age group to be vaccinated.
Public hospitals and clinics administering Covid-19 vaccines have been turning away children aged between 14 to 17, saying they have not yet received any communication from the government for them to commence the vaccination.
Health and Child Care ministry spokesperson Donald Mujiri told The NewsHawks that the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) gave conditional authorisation for the vaccination of children.
“The condition is that Ministry of Health and Child Care shall conduct a Phase three clinical trial first before rolling out the vaccination; and Ministry is in the process of implementing the MCAZ conditions and once that is complete, the rollout will begin,” he said.
Zimbabwe is targeting to get 10 million citizens vaccinated by December 2021.
A total of 2 750 681 people had received their first dose on 7 September while 1 742 641 had received their second dose.
Health deputy minister John Mangwiro had said it might be a question of distribution logistics. “The policy position stands, what we do is set the policy but talk to doctor (Maxwell) Hove who is responsible for distribution,” Mangwiro said.
In its 24 August post-cabinet briefing, the government expressed confidence that herd immunity will be achieved by December 2021.
“On the advice of scientists, the vaccination programme will also be extended to the 14 to 17-year age group,” cabinet said.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care will employ the following strategies in the rolling out of the vaccination exercise: expanding the engagement of the private sector; involving churches, universities and other institutions of higher learning; and accelerating outreach campaigns taking advantage of the Integrated Expanded Programme for Immunisation.”
The government said it had enough financial resources to procure all the required vaccines.
Schools opened on 30 August for examination classes and on 6 September for non-examination classes, with some schools recording positive cases of Covid-19, while others demanded that students present negative Covid-19 results.
Cabinet said the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and the Education, and Health and Child Care had collaborated to buttress the sector’s Covid-19 prevention and management systems.
“The two ministries met with provincial teams to evaluate progress in the implementation of the Joint Operational Plan of the Standard Guidelines for the Coordinated Prevention and Management of Covid-19 at Learning Institutions,” the cabinet briefing read.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education also met with teacher organisations and deliberated on the safe re-opening of schools, among other issues.”
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