372 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, and as of 4 April 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 36 923 after 12 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare with 7 cases. We note that the hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on the 3rd of April 2021 went down to 10 hospitalised cases, 3 asymptomatic cases, 7 mild to moderate cases, 0 severe cases and 0 cases in Intensive Care Units. Active cases went down to 650. The total number of recoveries went up to 34 748, increasing by 16 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 94%. A total of 5 709 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 117 297. A total of 276 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 21 603. The death toll goes up to 1 525 after one new death was recorded.
We note that several hospitals did not report their hospitalisation cases namely UBH in Bulawayo province, Midlands, Masvingo and in Harare province St Anne’s, Parirenyatwa and Wilkins hospitals.
Critical emerging issue
Platform for Reporting Covid-19 Vaccine Side Effects
- We commend the creation of a rapid reporting platform for members of the public to report the side effects of COVID 19 by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ).
- We welcome this operational mechanism to substantiate a tracking and monitoring system in Government to ensure citizens may easily share side effects they may have experienced after getting the Covid-19 vaccine. This would address rising concerns in the public of side effects being discussed and reported in the public by those vaccinated.
- We note that the MCAZ platform can be accessed online on the following website http://e-pv.mcaz.co.zw or by downloading the MCAZ app on Android or iOS.
- We urge accessibility of the rapid reporting platform for all sections of society including rural and digitally limited communities.
Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
Concerned regarding media reports of persons holding fake vaccination certificates. Concerned further by reports of instances wherein health officials have sold fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
We welcome the announcement by the Government to start issuing verifiable Electronic QPR encoded Covid-19 certificates to those who will have received their second dose.
Noting that the new electronic measures with various security features including linkages to passports and national ID’s are a proposed measure to combat the sale of counterfeit certificates in circulation.
We raise concerns at the ethical and integrity issues arising from such measures. Whilst we welcome the electronic QPR encoding;
- We are concerned regarding linkages of the COVID-19 vaccine certificates to passports and IDs.
- We raise concerns at the idea that health status will be linked with the rights of persons to interface in social activities including the right to movement to engage in other social programs
- We are concerned at the potential rise of a “two-track society” which gives increased room for discrimination against those who are not vaccinated especially when considering that not all citizens will be able to eligible for vaccination nor may wish to be vaccinated.
- We call for the exercise of caution in industries and large-scale private sector companies seeking to link employment with vaccination.
COVID-19 Vaccination Drive
We continue to commend the announcement regarding vaccine availability. We note further that the approved local vaccine mix includes four vaccines, Sinopharm and Sinovac from China, Russia’s Sputnik V and India’s Covaxin. We note the arrival of a further 1 056 000 doses of vaccine procured by the Government from China. We note further the announcement by the Government that approximately 1 million vaccines will be received per month going forward as part of ongoing procurement.
- We call upon the Government to continue to advise the nation on the vaccine mix being received and administered in the country.
- We call upon the government to continue to advise the nation regarding vaccine procurement and vaccine stores.
- We call for the government to publicize the reports from the sub-committee of the Inter-Ministerial Team on COVID-19 on monitoring and evaluation of the responses of persons vaccinated to encourage public knowledge on after-effects of vaccines.
- We urge for improvement is in queue management and managing the public outside vaccines centres namely at Wilkins hospital as a means to support the rapidly increased uptake of vaccinations by the public.
- We continue to call for transparency in the budgeting, procurement, delivery and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Source: Woman’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)