Private sector rolls out free Covid-19 vaccination for members


Business Reporter
THE collaboration between Cimas Medical Aid Society with private sector organisations to procure Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines has kick-started a free countrywide inoculation exercise targeting industry members.

The intervention complements the ongoing Government’s mass vaccination programme, which has seen the country being commended for registering progress towards achieving herd immunity of about 10 million out of 15 million population.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, officially launched the private sector Covid-19 vaccination at Cimas Medical Aid Services in Harare on Thursday.

The vaccine was procured through facilitation by the Government of Zimbabwe, with Cimas and the business management organisations footing the bill for the costs involved.

So far about $230 million has been raised and more contributions are expected to come.

Cimas was appointed the programme’s technical partner and health advisor for the private sector vaccination initiative.

Participating businesses include; the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Business Fighting Covid, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz), Horticultural Development Council, Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe, Association of Trust Schools, Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

In his remarks at the launch, Dr Mangwiro stressed the need to accelerate the vaccination roll out to ensure the intended population was vaccinated.

“Indeed, the private sector has risen to the challenge and of its own volition, joined in the battle to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and its effects on those infected,” he said.

“Mass vaccination against the virus at present seems to be the only hope that there is to overcome the virus. This should increase the speed with which the Government vaccination programme will be implemented.

“It will help increase the pace of vaccinations and hopefully remove any doubts that those who have been delaying a decision on vaccination may have had,” he said.”

In a media update on Friday, Cimas said the vaccination process has already started at Cimas and approved participating organisations’ vaccination centres across the country, with more centres due to open once the vaccines have been delivered in those districts.

Cimas chief executive officer, Mr Vuli Ndlovu, said Cimas and its partners had pooled their resources to buy the vaccines in order for the private sector to actively contribute to the Government’s drive to have the population vaccinated.

“We have partnered with like-minded business management organisations to fulfil our mandate, which is to inspire healthier communities by providing global standard health and wellness solutions,” he said. “Offering free and accessible Covid-19 vaccines to our members is one such drive to ensure our members are protected from dire effects of the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 vaccine partnership will see Cimas members and those of its business management partners accessing the Sinovac vaccine for free at Cimas and other approved facilities.”

Mr Ndlovu said as business leaders they were aware of the challenges associated with the Covid-19 vaccine uptake and strongly believe vaccination was the way to go in fighting the pandemic.

He stressed the need for the media to propagate correct information and help demystify myths and misconceptions about the vaccine as well as highlighting the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“We continue to advise members, and the public, who may be sceptical about the availed vaccines, that with the supply of vaccines currently strained, the best vaccine is the one on your arm.

“All vaccines have been proved to significantly reduce mortality and need for critical care,” said Mr Ndlovu.

“In continuous pursuit of our purpose, we have been working tirelessly to invest in the health and wellness of the communities we serve.

“We have been doing this by coming up with innovative health and medical care solutions that always exceed our customer expectations and investing in health infrastructure such as primary care clinics, emergency evacuation, diagnostic services, among others. Given the impact of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe and the world at large, we have seen it fit to also invest in vaccines.”

Cimas has since called on its members and the general public to take up the vaccines to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“We urge those already vaccinated not to relax but to continue adhering to the Covid-19 regulations such as sanitising their hands, social distancing and the proper wearing of face masks,” said the organisation. Chronicle

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