530 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 9th of September 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 126 056 after 125 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 27 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as of 15:00hrs on 8th September 2021 was 167 hospitalised cases: 16 new admissions, 31 asymptomatic cases, 65 mild-to-moderate cases, 54 severe cases and 17 cases in Intensive Care Units.
Active cases went down to 3 476. The total number of recoveries went up to 118 059 increasing by 237 recoveries. The recovery rate now stands at 94%. A total of 23 121 people received their 1st dose of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 2 805 224. A total of 25 823 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 1 796 175. The death toll went up to 4 521 after 4 new deaths were recorded.
We note delivery of the latest batch of 500 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. We further note the announcement by Government. We continue to urge clear communication and guidance from the Ministry of Health and Child Care pertaining to the eligibility and safety of the vaccine for lactating mothers and pregnant women. To date, this remains a grey area with conflicting opinions and guidance amongst health professionals. This situation has therefore left special groups of women exposed and vulnerable to exclusion due to unconfirmed fears and lack of accurate information.
Critical Emerging Issue
Expansion of Vaccination Drive
We note the announcement by the Ministry of Health and Child-Care that the Nation is currently stocking 4 million doses of Sinopharm, 5.2 million doses of Sinovac, 35 000 doses of Covaxin and 65 000 doses of Sputnik V. However, we continue to draw attention to the severe limitation of the vaccination drive particularly in the face of increasing social and economic restrictions based on proof of vaccination. We continue to raise concerns that mining, agricultural and trading communities have limited access to vaccination. Whilst we commend the inclusion of volunteers at vaccination centres, reports indicate that they remain too limited to make a significant real time impact on communities. We highlight the expanded housing settlements and communities across the country which are underserviced in terms of clinics and health centres. As a result, these communities do not have easily accessible points to get vaccinated.
- We continue to highlight artisanal miners and mining communities are that located in urban communities have and in mining communities.
- We continue to call for vaccination centres to be located at Agro centres, grain depots and collection points.
- We continue to call for mobile vaccination points at both food and non-food traders’ markets.
- We continue to call for vaccination points to be established in rural resettlement communities and in new housing development communities.
Vigilance and safety protocols in schools
Monitoring reports nationwide indicate a significant drop in adherence to masking up, and in some cases, improper use of masks by learners in schools. We are therefore concerned with infection control and safety protocols for learners.
- We urge a robust campaign and awareness- raising on vaccination eligibility of 14–17-year children. This should include adequate, accurate data on the anticipated side effects and other surrounding issues.
- We call for an inclusive vaccine roll-out which ensures vaccine equity and equality amongst urban and rural young populace.
- We recommend refresher information dissemination on proper use and disposal of masks in schools.
- We continue to call for adherence to physical distancing, wearing regular temperature checks in schools and in public transport utilised by learners and teaching staff.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe