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Victoria Falls elderly, youths shun vaccination



SENIOR citizens and young people below the age of 25 are dragging their feet in going for Covid-19 vaccination in Victoria Falls, the Matabeleland North provincial health officer, Munekayi Padingani, has said. 

So far, 19 640 residents in the tourist city have received their first vaccination dose, with 12 689 of them receiving the second jab as well, against a target of 25 000. The town has an estimated population of 40 000.

President Mnangagwa this week said the city had attained 77% herd immunity. He applauded health officials for working round the clock to achieve the feat.

Padingani said vaccination figures in Victoria Falls could have been higher had senior citizens and youths gone for vaccination. However, he said vaccination uptake in the tourist city was better compared to other towns in the province.

“People are really responding to our call and they are coming in numbers even though it’s not 100%, but we have seen some people even up to now still coming for the first dose,” he said. 

“We however have a challenge with the young ones between 18 to 24 years who are shunning to get vaccinated compared to the 25 to 49 year-olds. 

“Before the vaccination, we got a lot of information that was against the vaccine, so for us to convince young persons to jab surely takes time compared to a mature person because even if you try to reinforce this against their beliefs it won’t work.”

Padingani said the other age group hesitant about taking the vaccine was the 50 to 65 age group although he could not give exact figures. The government in March allocated vaccines to the city dwellers with the aim of achieving head immunity to aid the re-opening of Zimbabwe’s premier tourist attraction.

Victoria Falls is home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the planet’s largest curtain of falling water. 

As of 28 April, Zimbabwe had recorded a total of 38 191 Covid-19 cases and 1 565 deaths. As of 27 April, the country had 39 hospitalised cases, 11 asymptomatic cases, 20 mild to moderate cases, seven severe cases while one patient was in the intensive care unit.

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