Zimbabwe has expanded its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include children aged 12 years and above as schools have become coronavirus superspreaders since they were reopened on 7 February.
Addressing reporters after the second Cabinet meeting of the year on Tuesday, Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Joram Gumbo, said:
Cabinet resolved as follows: that, in view of the science-based guidance from the Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe Special COVID-19 Vaccine Group, COVID-19 vaccination be extended to the 12 to 15 years age group;
That the Risk Communication Sub-committee should urgently meet with the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) unit of the Ministry of Health and Child Care and begin to prepare and mobilise communities for the March to June national vaccination blitz.
In the past, only those who had reached 16 years of age could be vaccinated and the new policy is aimed at curbing infections spreading in schools.
In its COVID-19 Situation Report on 22 February, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) said the country recorded 409 news cases, of which 95 of the new cases were from outbreaks detected from schools.