Government will not allow any form of profiteering from the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination programme and any company or organisation that may procure the vaccines should be prepared to dispense to workers free of charge, President Mnangagwa said.
This comes as the Government’s nationwide vaccination programme, which is in phase one and currently targeting frontline workers, the security sector and members of the media, is in full swing with people voluntarily receiving the antigen free of charge.
In his address to the nation on Monday, where he relaxed the lockdown — the President reiterated that the vaccination programme should be free of charge.
“The vaccination will be administered for free. Private entities and organisations, who want to procure the vaccines for their staff or members, must be prepared to distribute the vaccines for free.
“Government will not allow any form of profiteering from the vaccination programme,” President Mnangagwa said.
On Monday the President downgraded the level four lockdown by opening most parts of the economy including the informal sector on condition that they satisfy World Health Organisation regulations.
He also tasked schools, colleges and universities to start preparations for reopening after a long lull spawned by the more devastating wave of the Covid-19 pandemic experienced in January.
With the uptake of the Sinopharm vaccines gifted to Zimbabwe by China on the rise, the President assured the nation that more vaccines are on their way.
“I would like to once again reassure the nation that more vaccines are coming and people will have the opportunity to be vaccinated. As Government, we are pleased with the positive response from the targeted groups.
“The overwhelming number of enquiries from those outside the first phase target groups is encouraging as they indicate their desire to vaccinate.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of Zimbabwe, I once again express my profound gratitude to the President of People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping and the Government and people of China for the additional donation of 200 000 doses of vaccines made to Zimbabwe just last week.
“This generous gift will greatly contribute to our quest to achieve herd immunity. Over and above the combined total of 400 000 donated doses, another 600 000 doses of Chinese vaccines will be arriving in the coming weeks. A further 1,2 million doses have also been availed by Chinese companies for Zimbabwe.
“I equally express our gratitude to Russia, India and the United Kingdom who have pledged donations of various vaccines.
“As the above vaccination programme is underway, let us continue to minimise the risk of spikes in the number of cases by adhering to the World Health Organisation public health protocols and the additional preventive measures announced by Government from time to time,” he said.
In his speech, the President said while vaccination is voluntary, people should continue adhering to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines to curb the spread of the contagion.
“While the vaccination programme is voluntary, let us remain mindful of the need to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the entire nation. The dissemination of factual information on the efficacy of the vaccines will be increased, across all media platforms,” he said.
Announcing the new set of measures at State House, the President said the wearing of masks, washing of hands or use of hand sanitisers in public areas remained mandatory.
Industry will now open with strict adherence to WHO set standards and national Covid-19 guidelines such as regular disinfection of premises, social distancing, hand sanitisation and temperature checks among others.
Non-compliance will attract targeted closure of entities.
Small to Medium Enterprises, food markets and the informal sector can re-open on condition they adhere to WHO guidelines.
Inter-city travel can now resume with bus operators required to ensure the disinfection of buses, wearing of masks and sanitisation of passengers.