Thursday, December 2, 2021
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Covid-19 vaccination extends to teenagers

Kimberly Kusauka

Vaccination of 16 and 17-year-olds was recently approved by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), with lactating and pregnant mothers being given green light to be vaccinated if they wanted.
In a press statement on vaccination issued recently by MoHCC, specialist pediatricians have recommended the vaccination of teenagers aged 16 and 17 with Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine.
“Based on the available scientific data in line with the Medicines Control Authorities of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) guidance, specialist pediatricians have recommended vaccination of the 16-17 years age group with Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine,” read the statement.
Masvingo Covid-19 Taskforce spokesperson Rogers Irimayi said they have received information that teenagers are included in the vaccination programme but they are still waiting for communication so that they can strategize on awareness campaigns for that age group.
“We have received the directive from MoHCC that children aged 16 and 17 have been included in vaccination program but we are not carrying out any campaigns for them specifically.
“We are yet to receive the communication so that we can strategize and will update after consultations with relevant authorities,” said Irimayi.
Recently MoHCC Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro said the nation has reached 38 percent on achieving the 60 percent herd immunity of the total population while addressing journalists at a National Aids Council (NAC) workshop in Chinhoyi.
“On achieving herd immunity, we are now at 38 percent and it is everyone’s duty to contribute towards achieving 60 percent by end of 2021. We have publicly announced that if pregnant and lactating women want to be vaccinated, they can do so,” said Dr Mangwiro.
Early September this year World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement on their website claiming that vaccination of lactating and pregnant mothers brings in more benefit than harm as they are also at risk of infection.
“WHO recommends vaccinating pregnant women and lactating mothers where benefits outweigh the risks. That means pregnant women with heightened exposures to Covid-19, such as health workers and those with comorbidities, stand to benefit from vaccination,” read the WHO statement.
In August, MoHCC said they were working on including pregnant and lactating mothers, together with children from 14 to 17 years in the vaccination program but health personnel manning vaccination centres were turning them away saying they had not received a circular to that effect.
MoHCC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Donald Mujiri in September said the ministry was in process to vaccinate all eligible people so that the herd immunity could be reached within the stipulated time.
“The Ministry is on the ground working on including pregnant women, lactating mothers and children from the age of 14-17 in the vaccination programme so that the country reaches herd immunity by December this year,” said Mujiri.
As at November 3, 2021 a total number of 3. 336 079 people had been vaccinated against Covid-19 nationally.

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