The Sunday News
THE Government has issued a stern warning to private businesses charging a premium to desperate Covid-19 vaccine seekers.
The warning comes as some businesses have resorted to charging Covid-19 vaccines, a practice that is at variance with Government’s policy that vaccination should be for free.
Zimbabwe has received rave reviews from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the way Government has responded to the global pandemic.
Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga issued the warning to fortune seekers around Covid-19 saying they would be brought to book.
“Let me allay fears of some in our nation who might think that the Covid-19 vaccination programme is about to falter. It is not and it will not.
“Government continues to place high premium on preserving life. It continues to use its resources and the international goodwill it commands to access regular, adequate vaccines which enable us to maintain the vaccination tempo, and thus save our people,” said VP Chiwenga when he officially re-opened St Anne’s Hospital in Harare yesterday.
Government has repeatedly appealed to people to adhere to all WHO mitigatory measures and to take up the vaccine when an opportunity is availed.
President Mnangagwa’s administration has been emphasising that for now, vaccines provide the biggest hope.
Some unscrupulous people have been charging a premium for the vaccines following a logistical issue on distribution which has since been addressed by redistributing vaccines.
“I also wish to reiterate that Government policy is that of ensuring free vaccination for all citizens who are ready and willing,” said VP Chiwenga.
“Government takes a very dim view of actors in the private sector we hear are charging Zimbabweans for jabs. If they are not ready to participate in the vaccination programme on terms and parameters set down by Government, they are advised to look elsewhere for profitable services, not around vaccination,” he said.
“It is a no-go area for fortune hunters; those morally-depraved practitioners who seek to fish in troubled times. Covid-19 is a global pandemic. It is viral and thus, a matter of public health concern. It’s containment and all efforts towards that end amount to public effort and public goods that should never be privatised. I hope this message reaches all quarters,” said VP Chiwenga.
Zimbabwe has committed to procuring more vaccines, but authorities say the vaccination process will not move as fast as Government would have wanted because of the high global demand for vaccines. VP Chiwenga also urged Sisters of the Little Company of Mary — the one running St Anne’s Hospital, and the church at large to take control of the developmental facets of the institution.
During his morning Holy Mass, the Archbishop of Harare, Robert Ndlovu urged staff at the hospital to spread love when dealing with patients.
Archbishop Ndlovu said the love given to a patient was therapeutic, while regional leader of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary, Sister Ellen Maseve said they were committed to serving.
“We are here to take care of the sick and the dying. We are here so that nobody dies alone,” said Sister Maseve.