US, Zim in COVID-19 vaccine warfare

BY MOSES MATENGA

GOVERNMENT yesterday sensationally claimed that the opposition MDC Alliance was caught with over half one million “unregistered COVID-19 vaccines” which it allegedly acquired from the US embassy in Harare to inoculate its celebration supporters.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba made the claims on his Twitter deal with @Jamwanda2, including that the celebration’s high executives  had been now determined to have the vaccine formally registered with native well being authorities.

However the opposition celebration rubbished the claims, and accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration of “politicking over a COVID-19 disaster”.

“MDC Alliance is in a little bit of a bind which it now seeks to resolve, abortively aided by the undiplomatic US man right here,” Charamba stated.

“They’ve been given two tranches of American vaccines, in complete amounting to half one million doses, for a political vaccination programme by which they hope to checkmate the goodwill that has accrued to Zanu PF by a sprite public vaccination programme.

“The 2 vaccines they’ve been given should not registered in Zimbabwe. Therein lies their dilemma. The legal guidelines of the nation don’t permit importation of unregistered vaccines.”

Charamba claimed the US embassy’s technique was to “stampede” the Well being ministry to drive authorities to simply accept importation and administration of unregistered vaccines, utilizing the Covax facility.

“This could then present cowl to this political donation. Sadly for them, Chinese language, Russian and Indian vaccines, which at the moment are registered to be used within the nation, at the moment are registered with the WHO [World Health Organisation], making them a part of the Covax menu. Zimbabwe insists that any help underneath Covax limits itself to these registered vaccines.”

Charamba alleged {that a} “high embassy official” wrote on to the Well being ministry hoping to get a directive.

“When it comes to diplomatic communication etiquette, embassies write to line ministries by International Workplace, a route which this high embassy official determined to sidestep out of desperation. After all, (the) International ministry was not amused and rapped knuckles of the official.

“In the meantime MDC Alliance stands unstuck and transfixed, with the merchandise getting repeatedly deferred at their high assembly. Upshot: the brand new, frenetic pro-vaccination messaging by the MDC Alliance officers and celebration isn’t a change of coronary heart or higher public well being consciousness. It’s political,” stated Charamba, who declined to present finer particulars when RZP referred to as him for remark.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere rubbished Charamba’s assertions.

“There isn’t any fact in any way to this. The MDC Alliance has not acquired vaccines from any individual or organisation. It’s a matter of remorse that authorities officers are politicking over such an vital concern given the vaccination hesitancy that must be addressed,” she stated.

“So far as we’re involved, the precedence is to save lots of lives. So we urge each individual to look at all COVID-19 protocols. Masks up, sanitise, and practise social distancing. Get vaccinated. No life needs to be misplaced when it may be prevented.”

A supply aware of the matter stated it was the Zimbabwean authorities that rejected a donation of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the US at a time when the southern African nation is struggling to safe ample vaccines to attain its focused 60% herd immunity.

In June, Finance ministry secretary George Guvamatanga wrote to Afreximbank regional chief operations officer Humphrey Nwugo expressing disinterest within the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“The federal government of Zimbabwe notes that there’s an allocation of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due for August 2021. Nevertheless, I want to advise that the federal government of Zimbabwe isn’t but able to take part within the August allocation as measures are nonetheless being put in place to determine the chilly chain administration framework for the vaccines, in addition to on administration of the anticipated antagonistic results of the vaccine following inoculation,” he wrote.

RZP has additionally established that the US had provided to donate over 155 000 vaccines to Zimbabwe to help the struggle towards the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, however the supply was turned down.

The snub reportedly irked high US officers, who felt the Zanu PF authorities was insincere because it was struggling to achieve its goal in vaccinating the nation that’s now underneath siege because the virus is wreaking havoc.

The US embassy was anticipated to concern an announcement over the matter late final night time.

Earlier than Charamba’s diatribe, suspended Harare mayor Jacob Mafume, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende and the celebration’s worldwide relations secretary Gladys Hlatywayo had taken to social media exhorting their members to get vaccinated, including that council clinics ought to embrace all WHO-approved vaccines.

“These are extraordinary instances. We’ve to be vaccinated at a sooner tempo to guard ourselves and our family members. Like Hwende, I’ve had mine to present our our bodies a combating probability. All and any vaccines are a should. All council clinics ought to have them,” Mafume tweeted.

In February this yr, authorities rejected a vaccine donation sourced by British ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson by the Covax facility, with Charamba describing it as “vacuous”.

Zimbabwe has opted for vaccines from its pleasant international locations that embrace China, India and Russia.

  •  Comply with Moses on Twitter Moses @mmatenga

 

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Author: Takudzwa Abioye

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