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Thousands get Covid-19 booster shots

Over 5 600 people have turned up for Covid-19 booster shots countrywide since these were authorised very recently, statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care last week show.

Zimbabwe stepped up its already successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign this month after the Omicron variant, thought to spread faster but less deadly, was discovered in South Africa at the end of November.

The ministry started listing the third shots on Monday last week with 3 943, although that total must have been building up since the authorisation was given a couple of weeks earlier.

By Saturday that total had reached 5 623 by ministry figures.

While frontline medical staff have been given priority for the booster shots, President Mnangagwa said in his New Year message on Friday that the booster programme was about to be rolled out.

In the Covid-19 statistical report, the ministry said Zimbabwe had so far vaccinated 4 129 952 people with the first dose of which 3 140 345 had gone on to the second dose.

It said the country had enough doses, mainly Chinese made, to vaccinate almost the entire eligible population,

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020, Zimbabwe’s cumulative cases now stand at 214 214, with 4 940 deaths and 169 963 recoveries.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Jasper Chimedza recently said people would be eligible to receive booster shots six months after receiving their second vaccine.

He said the third dose booster vaccination would proceed with the same vaccine type used for the first and second doses for an individual.

“For the avoidance of doubt there shall be no mixing of different vaccine types, there be at least six-month interval between the 2nd dose and the booster dose.

“The booster dose is recorded on the same vaccination card with the first and second doses,” said Dr Chimedza.

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