By Aleck Murimigwa
A number of people who are reluctant to take the Sinopharm vaccine against the Covid-19 are doing so
because they have not been conscientised enough to understand how the preventive drug works, health
Since its advent in Zimbabwe in March 2020, Covid-19 has killed 1483 people out of over 36 000 cases
reported as of 4 March 2021.
Zimbabwe also lost three cabinet ministers among other high placed government officials who
succumbed to the deadly pandemic.
A fortnight ago, Zimbabwe received its first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine in the name of Sinopharm,
200 000 doses extended to the country by China.
While this was touted as a game-changer towards curbing the virus, taking Sinopharm jabs into the
arms of the citizens have not been all that smooth as reluctance continues to grow due to a lot of
questions around the Chinese-made drug.
“What is lacking is the correct information from the Ministry of Health and Child Care. There is a deficit
of information in the public space about the vaccine hence some people are reluctant to take jabs,” said
Enock Dongo a Harare-based health caregiver.
Dongo added: “Social media is making it even worse. A list of side effects after taking the vaccine is
doing rounds on social media and it scares people.”
Government’s efforts to instill confidence among the citizens in the vaccine against Covid-19 continue
hit a brick wall even after the Vice President and health minister Constantino Chiwenga received in
public, the Sinopharm jab.
Dongo, said until government carries out an inclusive consultative meeting with stakeholders that include health care workers and political players, uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine will remain low.
“Government must call for an ‘all stakeholder’ meeting that includes health care workers, political players, churches, and traditional leaders, who can then take the message to their followers. Right now
these stakeholders cannot tell people to take the vaccine because the public is asking questions which
cannot be answered.”
Johannes Marisa, a senior medical doctor confirmed that indeed there is a low uptake of the Sinopharm vaccine and reiterated Dongo’s perspective on the need to conscientise the citizens about the vaccine.
“What I see is the lack of health education. We have to conscientise the population that there is nothing harmful about taking the vaccine,” Marisa said.
He added: “We have a lot of people who are reluctant to take this Covid-19 vaccine. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the Sinopharm vaccine. There are 73 listed side effects but that’s the standard procedure for making a medical drug. This should not be frightening.”
Addressing journalists in Harare Thursday, Chiwenga pleaded with Zimbabweans to take the Sinopharm vaccine saying he is safe after taking the jab two weeks ago.
“I didn’t feel anything at all and I am okay. As you have seen I am working and I am fit 100 percent.