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Mnangagwa Says Zimbabweans Won't Pay for COVID-19 Vaccinations

FILE - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses mourners at the burial of Zimbabwean minister Perence Shiri, who died of Covid-19, during his burial in Harare, July, 31, 2020.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says COVID-19 vaccines in Zimbabwe will be free.

In a State of the Nation Address broadcast on state television and monitored from Washington, Mnangagwa said the country is expected to introduce vaccines which have been scientifically ascertained to be safe.

“Our overall National Response Strategy has reached a stage where we can now introduce vaccines as a second front preventative measure.

He made the remarks at a time Zimbabweans were angered by reports indicating locals will pay for state-funded vaccines.

“The National Vaccination Strategy will continue to be guided by the best available scientific evidence and the safety of all Zimbabweans remaining a priority. A National vaccine deployment framework has also been finalized. The initial objective is to inoculate at least 60% of the population to achieve population immunity. The first phase of inoculation of inoculation of the vaccine will see our hard working front line workers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions being prioritized.”

Mnangagwa noted that the Chinese government has donated 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.

“This kind gesture is in addition to the numerous donations, support and interventions made by China since the outbreak of the virus.”

The Ministry of Health reports that 19 people died of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe on Wednesday and 207 testeed positive for coronavirus.

The ministry says 34,171 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 27,759 have recovered. The country has recorded 1,288 deaths since March last year.