We, the undersigned civil society organisations spearheading the People’s Vaccine Campaign ZW, commend the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) for procuring some initial batches of vaccines for its citizens in the face of ‘vaccine apartheid’ which is presently threatening the global order. We recognize the challenges faced by governments in the global south to not only access vaccines but also making any inroads in starting to manufacture vaccines. We express our solidarity to all Global South governments who are leading on this front to ensure that a global resolution is implemented that leaves no country behind.
At the same time, we note with concern the trend of slow uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine and the delay this has on achieving population immunity for the protection of Zimbabweans. In light of this, we reiterate our call for a clear distribution plan with timelines for each stage and clear benchmarks for moving onto each successive stage in the most efficient way possible. We remind relevant stakeholders that the success of the vaccination program in Zimbabwe relies heavily on the trust which citizens place in the plan.
A vaccine for Covid-19 should be viewed as a public good and all Zimbabweans should be advised of when they will be able to access the vaccine. The People’s Vaccine Campaign ZW also draws attention to the need for this clear distribution plan to mitigate any perception or possibility of diversion of funds and resources. We caution against the temptation to divert vaccines or make vaccines available to only a few as the demand for vaccines increases by the majority of Zimbabweans. The People’s Vaccine Campaign ZW calls for reliable oversight measures, including at health facilities where vaccination is going to take place.
It is concerning to note that the currently limited vaccine supplies could result in those with financial resources or those who are politically connected offering bribes for inoculation without following the phases and stages as highlighted in the government rollout plan. Vaccines are a right for all Zimbabweans, not just the elite.
To mitigate the risks associated with the supply and distribution of the vaccines, The People’s Vaccine Campaign ZW calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to:
- Publicize a clear vaccine distribution matrix showing the number of vaccines sent to institutions with frontline workers and the number of workers who are slated to receive/who receive the vaccine at those sites.
- Publicize data from each vaccination site (both static and mobile) showing the number of vaccines that have been used per week.
- Publicize the acceptable documentation required to demonstrate eligibility for the vaccine at each stage.
- Publicize the stated plan with timelines and locations for all citizens to know when successive categories become eligible for their vaccinations and where they should go when it is their turn.
- Ensure that health workers responsible for the vaccinations only vaccinate according to the categories and stages in the rollout plan.
- Ensure that all the information is available in all official languages which include sign language.
We, the undersigned, express our commitment to the public health program in Zimbabwe to minimize the toll of Covid-19 on our society and call on the leadership of the vaccination program to clearly and consistently communicate with citizens through the Ministry of Health.
Source: People’s Vaccine Campaign ZW (Magamba, Citizens Manifesto, ZimRights, ZIMCODD and Kubatana)