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Zimbabweans Queueing for COVID-19 Vaccinations Amid Fears of Omicron Variant

A woman holds her vaccination card after getting a second shot at a government hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans are getting vaccinated at public and private hospitals as the new omicron coronavirus variant is reported in neighboring South Africa.

Over 3.7 million people having received the first dose of the vaccine, while 2.7 million are fully vaccinated.

The vaccines used in Zimbabwe are mainly the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Last week, the Zimbabwean government told citizens not to panic over the omicron variant outbreak in neighboring South Africa.

But public health expert Itai Rusike, who's based in the capital Harare, said the detection of the new variant in South Africa paints a worrying picture.

He said there were many Zimbabweans based in South Africa or Botswana, "and the majority of them were going to come back home for the festive season and it then creates that challenge, the risk of transmission, given the fact that our land borders are very porous."