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Zimbabwe: UK Offers Covid-19 Vaccines Assistance

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Britain has offered to vaccinate 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s population, the most vulnerable 3 million people, against Covid-19 when the British vaccine is ready and Government will be mobilising resources to cover those not vaccinated by development partners.

UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson made the commitment when she paid a courtesy call on Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga yesterday morning.

The UK is clear it wants to scale up cooperation with Zimbabwe ahead of its official exit from the European Union EU) and Ambassador Robinson said they were encouraged by President Mnangagwa’s commitment to walk the reform agenda.

“We discussed Covid-19 and particularly vaccines. The UK has been a leading country in the world putting the Covax together. We have put over $700 million into making sure that the lower middle income countries can vaccinate their most vulnerable populations.

“We discussed how Zimbabwe can benefit from this so that the most vulnerable 20 percent can be vaccinated and we discussed how important it is that these vaccines are targeted to people that need them most,” she said.

Ambassador Robinson said Zimbabwe was on track to become one of the countries that would benefit from the vaccine. She said distribution would start when the right immunity against Covid-19 is available.

The UK said it was encouraged by the country’s reform agenda.

The notable ones are the repealing of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Public Order and Security Act, and the licensing of six new independent television stations.

“We talked about our relationship, and I talked about how important it was for the United Kingdom when President Mnangagwa made his commitment to significant economic and political reforms and to uphold the human rights that are in the Constitution.

On the expected vaccine, VP Chiwenga said priority would be given to frontline workers and the most vulnerable who include the elderly.

VP Chiwenga said they also discussed the cordial relations between the two countries.

“In our case, the priority is on frontline workers and critical groups like the elderly, and we still have to look at the bulk of our population.

“Once we have accepted the 20 percent which is being offered, we also look at our own resources to ensure the rest of the population are covered,” said VP Chiwenga.