400 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 2 May 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 38 281 after 21 new cases were reported, all are local cases. The highest case tally was recorded in Harare which had 2 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on the 1 May 2021 was 21 hospitalised cases, 8 asymptomatic case, 8 mild to moderate cases, 4 severe cases and 1 cases Intensive Care Units. We highlight gaps in provinces that did not report hospitalisation rates namely Bulawayo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland South, and Parirenyatwa.
Active cases went up to 1 077. The total number of recoveries went up to 35 634, increasing by 14 recoveries. The recovery rate remains at 93%. A total of 1933 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 430 068. A total of 1 967 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 94 131. The death toll remains at 1 570 after no new deaths were recorded today.
We continue to raise concerns regarding the available vaccine mix in Zimbabwe. We continue to question the procurement of vaccines which currently does not include PfizerBiotech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines. We continue to raise the point that citizens have a right to elect which vaccines are best for them including even during vaccine procurement which can be ably guided by the local scientific community. We continue to question why several of the local vaccines are yet to secure WHO Emergency Use clearance and these are the vaccines available locally.
Critical emerging issue
1. Socio-economic impacts of COVID-19
We continue to amplify our concern on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 particularly that the majority of women in Zimbabwe and women-led households are facing the biggest impacts in food security, income loss, and care-giving burdens. We emphasize the need for prioritization of women’s access to social safety nets during COVID-19, taking due cognisance of the fact that a majority of women in the informal sector, such as the cross-border traders, have suffered severe loss of livelihoods. While noting the announcement over 2 months ago, regarding the increase for the amount to be distributed to beneficiaries of the Cash Transfer System for vulnerable persons in COVID-19 from ZWL$300 to ZWL1500, we are concerned that the disbursements have not yet been distributed to beneficiaries.
- We continue to recommend that Government announces the direct distribution of basic commodities and food in communities similar to the subsidized mealie meal distribution program.
- We recommend the expedition of the distribution of cash transfers to beneficiaries.
- We call for the adequate funding of National Social Protection Policy Framework.
- We therefore urge Government to expand social safety nets and offset economic impacts for COVID19.
- We reinforce our calls for the provision of support for households who are no longer able to sustain themselves due to loss of livelihoods, especially women-led households.
1. Domestic Vaccine Equity and The Rights of Workers
We fully acknowledge and support the critical relationship and engagements between the Government and the private sector in escalating the provision of vaccines. We commend further various efforts meant to expedite access to vaccines.
We however continue to spotlight the risks of privatisation of vaccines. Vaccines are a critical essential lifesaving interventions which must be provided to all.
- We urge Government to recall that vaccine equity is therefore not only a matter of equitable access between nation states but also among citizens in within a country hence the need to ensure equitable public access.
Further, we continue to critique the pressure that workers in both the public service and the private sector are facing the “soft pressure” to get vaccinated in a bid to secure their work status. We raise concerns of reports of workers who have been told that there are free to choose to be vaccinated or not, but essentially their working status or roles require them to take up the vaccine.
- Whilst citizens are indeed to be encouraged to get vaccinated a “Jabs for Jobs” policy is completely untenable.
- We remind both the Government and Private sector that encouragement to get vaccinated goes beyond simply addressing the scourge of fake news, but also includes directly issues pertaining to the vaccine mix available for citizens to select and also the quality of the post vaccination monitoring and care available.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe