The Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) says the Government may fail to attain its target of vaccinating 10 million citizens against COVID-19 by the end of this year due to vaccine hesitancy.
The Government has imported millions of doses from China over the past several months but vaccination uptake has been slow even though the jabs are being provided free of charge.
In its latest report, ZDI focused on access to public health, assessing the likelihood of Zimbabwe achieving COVID-19 herd immunity by December. The report says:
The period under review was characterised by steady growth in COVID-19 vaccination across the country.
By 31 October 2021, the country had vaccinated over 3 million people against the pandemic.
However, the increase in vaccinations still falls short of the set target of 60% herd immunity by the end of the year 2021.
By its own admission, the government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care revealed that COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out and Deployment program had, as of 31 October 2021, reached a national coverage of 38% of the targeted population.
The period between 31 October and 31 December (2 months) is realistically not enough to vaccinate the remaining 62% given that the actual vaccination rate of 38% was attained over a period between March and October (7 months).
As of 5 December 2021, 3 874 694 citizens had received the first jab while 2 884 045 people had been fully vaccinated.
ZDI proposed that the Government develops a clear plan on how it is going to utilise the remaining time to vaccinate the population in order to reach herd immunity.
It urged the Government to observe its own COVID-19 rules and address the issue of health care personnel remuneration.
The organisation also challenged civil society to hold the government to account over its COVID-19 vaccination set targets.