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Vaccination apathy rife in Masvingo



AFTER receiving 22 000 vaccines during the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, Masvingo province managed to vaccinate only 3 600 health workers with the rest of the population still sceptical.

Business is also going back to normal with many people no longer putting on their masks or observing social distancing in public. Pirate taxi operators commonly known as mishika shika are now back on the road.

Masvingo Covid-19 taskforce spokesperson Rodgers Irimayi told The NewsHawks that the vaccine uptake in the province was still low largely because of disinformation through social media.

He said the province is now geared up for the second phase of the vaccination programme and his committee is hoping that more people will be willing to be vaccinated.

“The province received 22 000 vaccines since the inception of the programme but we managed to vaccinate only 3 600. The first programme was targeting health workers.

“There are people circulating negative messages on social media and l think that is what caused a low uptake in our province. We are about to enter into phase two of the programme and it is our hope that those targetted, mainly teachers, will be willing to come forward.

“This is a voluntary programme so we will continue educating people on the advantages of taking the vaccine for them to understand,” said Irimayi.

Irimayi added that there is great concern over people are who now disregarding laid down Covid-19 protocols by failing to observe social distancing at public places as well as neglecting the use of face masks.

“Following the laid down Covid-19 protocols is difficult to many and this becomes risky. Wearing of face masks is at times totally disregarded whilst maintaining social distance in market environments becomes difficult. The development is unsafe for us considering that we are facing the third wave of the virus which can be more fatal,” said Irimayi.

On Wednesday, the province recorded a single case of new Covid-19 infection and the cumulative positive cases now stand at 2 366 with 66 deaths.

The province has 18 active cases and 2 282 recoveries. The new case is from Chiredzi district which remains the hotspot in the province.

During a visit to Chiredzi last week, The NewsHawks established that people in Chilonga are at great risk of contracting the coronavirus as many of them are not aware that the virus is still active. They are no longer wearing face masks. In Chiredzi, vendors, touts and kombi drivers are no longer observing social distance or wearing face masks.

Tiyani Chilonga, a community leader in Chilonga, told The NewsHawks that the wearing of masks in the community is now a thing of the past.

He asked if coronavirus is still affecting people in the country, saying rural communities appear immune to the disease.

“You are not seeing masks because we know nothing about the disease. We are a community which lives amongst itself so where can we get the virus?

Is the virus still killing people? We think it ended sometime ago. We are just hearing about the vaccine, but we have no information in this part of the country,” said Chilonga.

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