Low Uptake of COVID-19 Vaccine in Local Communities, a Cause for Concern

Community members from Buhera, Gutu and Zaka who are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s Community Peace Clubs (CPCs) have bemoaned the low up take of the COVID 19 vaccine in their areas. This was revealed during a virtual dialogue meeting conducted by the CPCs between 10 and 12 July 2021.

Participants noted that at most local clinics, vaccines are readily available but the uptake was low owing to reluctance and rampant vaccine hesitancy within communities. ”Here in Buhera the vaccines are readily available at most health centres such as Mutiusinazita clinic and Birchenough Bridge hospital but community members are a bit hesitant about getting the vaccine. This is because of misinformation around the vaccine”, said one participant from Buhera. The same sentiments were also highlighted by some participants from Gutu who highlighted that though the vaccine was readily available, community members were reluctant to get vaccinated. ”Here in Gutu the vaccine is readily available at health institutions such as Serima hospital but there is low uptake. At social places you hear saying that if one gets vaccine; they will die in 3years time. This has dealt a heavy blow to the vaccination programme” said another participant from Gutu. However, in areas such as Zaka, the vaccination programme is said to be progressing well with community members flocking health centres in their numbers to get the vaccine. As part of resolutions, the dialogue meeting resolved that there was need for the CPCs to continue raising awareness on COVID 19 and mobilizing community members to get vaccinated . The dialogue meeting also resolved that there was need to monitor observance of human rights during the lockdown period.

The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid-19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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