579 days of the COVID-19 Lockdown, and as of 28th of October 2021, the Ministry of Health and Child Care reported that, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 132 880 after 72 new cases all local cases, were recorded. The highest case tally was recorded in Manicaland with 18 cases. We note that the Hospitalisation rate as at 15:00hrs on 27 October 2021 remained at 65 hospitalised cases: 8 New Admissions, 4 Asymptomatic cases, 47 mild-to-moderate cases, 11 severe cases and 3 cases in Intensive Care Units. A total of 5 797 people received their 1st doses of vaccine. The cumulative number of the 1st dose vaccinated now stands at 3 293 882. A total of 8 424 recipients received their second dose bringing the cumulative number of 2nd dose recipients to 2 574 836. Active cases went down to 609. The total number of recoveries went up to 127 596 increasing by 76 recoveries. The recovery rate went up to 96%. The death toll remained at 4 675, as there was no new death recorded. We note the ZERO death rate recorded at this period and continue to highlight that ZERO low of life to COVID- 19 is a critical driver of the efforts to stem the pandemic. Accordingly, we continue to call for increased adherence to so mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand sanitisation.
Critical Emerging Issue
US Acceptance of Persons vaccinated with Vaccines manufactured in the global South
We commend the decision of the Government of the United States of America to permit into the USA, from the 8th of November 2021, persons vaccinated with any WHO approved vaccines. This approval includes vaccines manufactured and or developed in the global south. This effectively means that persons who have received the Chinese manufactured and developed vaccines such as Sinopharm and SinoVac as the majority of the vaccinated population in Zimbabwe will now be eligible to enter the USA on the same basis as those vaccinated with the Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and or the single dose Janssen vaccines. We commend this shift in policy as a progressive step towards vaccine equity particularly in light of the fact that globally, 50 countries with vaccination rates below 10%, at this time, are predominately counties within Sub- Saharan Africa simply due to gross vaccine inequity that has marred the global response to the pandemic. We continue to critique the positions adopted by the majority of EU nations which only consider EU approved vaccines as deliberately excluding WHO approved vaccines, meaning that Russian and Chinese manufactured vaccines are not fully recognised. Accordingly, we continue to note that in the EU persons vaccinated with those vaccines are being excluded from full participation in socio-economic activities in their respective EU countries.
- We call upon the EU to ensure that the entire block follows the examples set by The Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Hungary and Switzerland.
- We strongly object to the continued inequity in the lack of recognition of vaccines that have been approved by the WHO and are part of the vaccine mix of countries in the global south and are manufactured by China.
- We continue to call for full recognition of WHO approved vaccines globally.
- We call for countries in the global north such as the UK, to take practical steps to demonstrate their support for vaccine equity by directly addressing inclusion of vaccines manufactured and administered in the global south.
Increased Access to Vaccination Programme for Rural Communities
We continue to amplify calls for direct and deliberate expansion of the vaccine programme to rural and hard to reach communities. We note that whilst efforts to ensure that rural health care centres have indeed been supported under the vaccine rollout, progress has been simply too slow to make significant impact. We note that this has been exacerbated by the fact that efforts to target rural socio-economic centres and hubs under the vaccine rollout have largely been weak, as raised in detail in prior reports. Furthermore, we highlight the long distances to healthcare centres which is reported by communities as a major hindrance to accessing the vaccines. We accordingly urge government to speedily address such gaps in the rural vaccination programme.
- We amplify our calls for vaccine equity within Zimbabwe.
- We call for prioritisation of rural, peri-urban and hard to reach communities for vaccine accessibility.
- We reiterate our recommendation for the rolling out of mobile vaccine centres to provide direct support to communities.
Source: Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe