Local medical experts Wednesday urged Zimbabweans to get COVID-19 booster shots as a protective measure against the raging Omicron variant.
This comes at a time when a new IHU variant of the respiratory disease, which has already affected 12 people has been detected in southern France.
The new variant is said to have 46 mutations more than the Omicron variant, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not yet raised alarm over it.
Zimbabwe has in the past few weeks recorded a spike in infections and deaths.
Countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India were among the first in the world to roll out a booster shot campaign, offering recipients of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine booster shots amid concerns that the vaccine was not that effective.
The campaign will see (UAE) citizens denied the right to leave the country unless they have received a booster shot against the coronavirus.
In Zimbabwe, the government has spearheaded the implementation of booster vaccinations with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga recently getting a third dose.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa told NewsDay that it was crucial for Zimbabweans to get the booster shot to strengthen their immunity. He said:
Immunity for the vaccine usually wears off after six months. So from six to 10 months, you find the immunity of vaccines going down and, therefore, boosts are important since COVID-19 is not showing remission at the moment.
Marisa said the third dose gave renewed immunity as the COVID-19 variants mutate every day.
He added that individuals can also switch vaccines with no harm.
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Itai Rusike said the booster is designed to help people maintain their immunity for a long period of time.
Rusike said adults who got vaccinated six months ago and those older than 16 could take the booster shots.
Senior Hospital Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse said research shows that immunity from initial vaccine doses wanes, hence the push for a booster dose.
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