The ten day vaccination program of all informal traders commenced on Tuesday at designated centers in Bulawayo which include the Large City Hall , Renkini Bus Terminus and Sokusile in Nkulumane . Over a hundred informal traders flocked the Large City Hall early in the morning to get their first jab.
Acting Provincial Medical Director , Dr Welcome Mlilo , said the program had commenced well with most informal traders responding to the call to get inoculated .
” Government has considered vaccinating the sector which is at high risk of contracting and transmitting the virus as most of the country’s population works in the informal sector. The response has been good and we are hopeful that by the end of the program we will have managed to vaccinate all those in the sector.”
Dr Mlilo also revealed that the new Covid 19 vaccination cards have a barcode that can be used to scan at any entry if one decides to visit any destination.
Michael Ndiweni the Executive Director of Bulawayo Vendors Traders Association (BVTA) revealed that this program was a great move for the sector which is affected by the pandemic and are at high risk of contracting the virus.
Ndiweni added that the association had received complaints from some informal traders who had been sent back home as they did not have licenses and the issue is being dealt with internally.
” We received some complaints about such people being sent away . They seem to understand that there are people who do not have licenses because they are employees working for other people which becomes a main concern to us that some of the people may not get vaccinated “.
Meanwhile informal traders have expressed mixed feelings about the program with some expressing gratitude that the government has considered them especially during this pandemic.
One informal vendor who operates at City Hall said the vaccine will protect both herself and her family.
” I operate right here at the City Hall . I decided to get vaccinated because my health is my top priority”.
Another informal trader revealed that after a series of colds ,flue and headaches they decided to come get vaccinated as their health is their wealth.
Vaccination will be rolled out to other market areas surrounding the city. Government targets to inoculate at least 15 000 informal traders in market places which have been identified as key hotspots for spreading the virus. As at July 7 574394 people had been fully vaccinated .