RUSTENBURG, February 15 (ANA) – Zimbabwe will start vaccinating people against Covid-19 this week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday.
“The first batch of vaccines for Zimbabwe has been successfully delivered. We start vaccinating Zimbabweans this week! The faster our country is protected against this virus, the faster Zimbabwe’s economy can flourish. God bless you all, God bless Zimbabwe,” he said on his Twitter account.
The president’s tweet followed the arrival of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China. The consignment arrived on Monday morning around 3am.
The country is expected to buy more than one million vaccine doses from China later in the year.
Zimbabwe has recorded 35,172 infections, 1,400 deaths and 30,601 recoveries.
It is the first southern African country to roll out the vaccine after neighbouring South Africa suspended the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived on February 1.
The roll-out was suspended after a clinical trial showed the doses were ineffective against the new 501.V2 variant of Covid-19 first detected in South Africa.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said during his weekly Covid-19 update address on Sunday that the country was expecting its first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine later this week and health workers would be the first to be inoculated against Covid-19. Another batch was expected at the end of February.
Eswatini was expecting 108,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine later in February, but Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi said last week that the country would no longer used the vaccine following its reported shortcomings against the 501.V2 variant.
The country would instead enter into talks with other suppliers.
Namibia was also expecting to receive its first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine doses in February.
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher