Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday said he and his cabinet members will be first in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when a second batch of vaccines is delivered to the country next month, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported.
Mnangagwa made the comments in the wake of China announcing an additional 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines will be donated to the southern African nation to combat the pandemic. This second donation will bring to 400,000 the total number of COVID-19 vaccines that China has donated to Zimbabwe so far.
“The Vice President of the country had the first jab and he is still here. My cabinet and myself, in two weeks, when the next consignment comes, we will be vaccinated,” the Herald quoted the president as saying.
He also defended himself against speculation online that he and members of his administration would not get vaccinated after the first batch of vaccines arrived earlier this month.
“Social media was saying the leadership will not be vaccinated, on that particular day, we had various engagements, so I called my Minister and Vice President to get the first jab so that you know that the vaccine is safe,” Mnangagwa said during the commissioning of a water supply project and ground-breaking of a pipeline project in Matabeleland North.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health minister, became the first Zimbabwean to be inoculated locally.
Mnangagwa again encouraged all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying this was the only way to conquer the pandemic.
“The Ministry of Health supported by (Finance Minister Professor Mthuli) Ncube also bought two sets yesterday, 600,000 doses which will come during the first two weeks of March and another 1.2 million doses,” he said.
“There are so many companies that have come forward who want to import the vaccines and sell them, we have said no. If any company buys vaccines, they must be distributed freely,” he added stressing the vaccination is free.
The president revealed that efforts to get vaccines from India and Russia were at an advanced stage.
Zimbabwe has so far reported 35,960 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,456 deaths.