Vaccines Stock Running Out? – Public Health Access Report May 2021

Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe. As of 31 May 2021, there were 171 456 617 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the globe, including 3 564 772 deaths and 153 902 557 recoveries. Africa has a high mortality rate as compared to other continents. Global statistics show that Africa has critically ill COVID-19 patients with a death rate of 48% compared to the global average of 32%. As such, Africa appears to be on the receiving end of the pandemic.

In Zimbabwe, the month of May 2021 was characterised by a gradual increase in COVID-19 confirmed cases. As of 30 April 2021, the country had 38 257 confirmed cases including 1 567 deaths, 35 612 recoveries and 414 735 people vaccinated. Between 30 April 2021 and 31 May 2021, the country had an increase of 707 confirmed cases and 29 deaths. This points to a case of further spread of COVID-19 in the country.

In the midst of the pandemic, the government of Zimbabwe seems to be running out of vaccines as statistics pertaining to vaccines received and communicated formally through State media indicate that in less than 2 weeks the country will be left with no jabs. Besides that, the government appears to be clinging on the selective application of law in the enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures.

Quality and Affordable Healthcare: What are the Indicators Saying?

In the context of COVID-19 and three years after the promise of quality and affordable healthcare was made by President Mnangagwa’s government, the provision of basic healthcare appears to be still a dream. In Kariba on 4 May 2021, a woman gave birth outside Nyamhunga clinic when the nurses told her they were on lunch. This points to low motivation that nurses have in the midst of COVID-19 after the government’s continued failure to fulfill its promise of incentivising healthcare workers.

Poor COVID-19 Information Communication: Internal Contradictions Lay-bare

The nature of the coronavirus, as a national issue, demands that there should be clear and prompt communication of information regarding the pandemic as part of the constitutionally enshrined right of access to information. However, the period under review was characterized by a shambolic communication of pertinent COVID-19 information by the responsible authorities.

Conclusion

The fight against COVID-19 seems to be a protracted one, with confirmed global cases, as of 31 May 2021, standing at 171 090 910 including 3 558 115 deaths and 153 237 358 recoveries. In South Africa, President Ramaphosa on 30 May 2021 announced that the country would enter an adjusted alert level 2 of the lockdown effective from 31 May 2021. In Zimbabwe as of 31 May 2021, there were confirmed cases totaling 38 961 representing an increase of 704 from the figure as of 30 April 2021. Deaths also increased by 29 within the same period of time. In the midst of the continued threat of COVID-19, fears of vaccines shortage are looming and thereby raising questions on the urgency of the government to ensure that every citizen get access to quality healthcare under the dictates of the law.

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Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Institute