By Oriel Khumalo
Zimbabwe received on Monday the first batch of Covaxin Covid 19 vaccine which was donated by the government of India in fulfillment of its pledge made in February.
The consignment consists of 35 000 Covaxin doses out of the 75 000 that were donated.
President Emmerson Mngangagwa whilst speaking at the Robert Mugabe International Airport said that the consignment is a welcome contribution to the on going national Covid-19 vaccination programme.
“This generous gift is welcome as a timely gesture of friendship, support and solidarity in the midst of these unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic. As you are aware, my Government has put in place measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Key among the strategies is the rollout of the vaccination programme to target 60 percent of our population towards the achievement of herd immunity.”
He added that the strong co-operation between Zimbabwe and India has deepened in the health sector.
“To this end, Zimbabwe remains committed to the implementation of a memorandum of understanding on traditional and complementary medicines that was signed between our two countries recently. We also look forward to strengthening the existing cooperation for the mutual benefit of our economies,” he said.
Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Vijay Khanduja said people should not doubt the efficacy of the vaccine .
““Millions have received the vaccine in India alone and that should put to rest any doubts and scepticism about the vaccine. The vaccine has proved to be 81 percent effective in the clinical trials we have done so far and it has proven to be effective even against the mutant strains,” he said.
The vaccine received from India comes when Zimbabwe has moved into the next stage of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme targeting the clergy, teachers, Judiciary, security and those with chronic illnesses.
The Covaxin has already been administered in India where tests have shown it to have an efficacy rate of around 81% as well as being effective against various Covid-19 mutations.
India so far has provided more than 60 million vaccines to 75 countries which has seen its pharmaceutical companies scaling up the production to meet the global demand.