The Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has produced a July 2021 monitoring report pertaining to access to public health in the context of Covid-19 pandemic. The report interrogates government’s response to the Covid-19 third wave, the availability and accessibility of vaccines and the much topical issue of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination. As part of its recommendations the ZDI implores government to ensure the availability of adequate and quality COVID-19 vaccines to all willing citizens as well as decentralise vaccine accessibility. Read on for more.
Government Response to Covid-19 Third Wave – Citizens at Risk
Following a surge in Covid-19 cases and subsequent localised lockdowns, the government of Zimbabwe introduced new level four lockdowns. The month of July has seen the government of Zimbabwe tightening lockdown measures. The country moved to level 4, this saw the closure of schools and tertiary institutions, ban in public gatherings, rationalising of personnel and hours of operation in various sectors and adoption of a 6pm curfew. On the 6pm curfew, the cities of Harare and Bulawayo are experiencing congestion in roads leading to the central business centers; this has seen long queues at ZUPCO bus terminuses with no evidence of social distancing while experiencing pressure at illegal mushika-shika terminuses. These have become spreaders of the Covid-19 virus.1 The shortage of public transport in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare has been threatening to derail efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, as commuters are hardly practicing any social distancing while in queues for buses.
Availability and Accessibility of Covid-19 Vaccines in Communities Across Zimbabwe
The rise of covid-19 positive cases has raised fear in citizens hence the drive to vaccinate. With the government opening vaccination for everyone, the month of July has witnessed a high demand in vaccination. As at 29 July 2021, a population of 1 593 656 were vaccinated while thousands are queuing for vaccination daily. This makes us to question the availability and accessibility of vaccines in Zimbabwe. Citizens are experiencing long vaccination queues, with some sleeping at vaccination centers and later denied vaccination access. This demotivates citizens to vaccinate or even worse as it promotes corruption.
Should Vaccination be Mandatory?
Citizens in Zimbabwe, noted with concern that the vaccination program should be voluntary, no worker should be forced to be vaccinated. Government owned entities such as TelOne have made vaccination mandatory by sending unvaccinated workers on leave. Other companies have also responded by sending their unvaccinated workers on leave. Mandatory vaccine vaccination is most likely to lead to dishonesty and corruption. In the past months the government has been dealing with faked covid-19 testing certificates. This was evidence that mandatory politics do not work in Zimbabwe and the same might be done with vaccination cards.
Access the full monitoring report here (645KB PDF)
Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Institute