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COVID-19 Vaccines: Rural Dwellers Feel Neglected

22 August 2021

Zimbabweans residing in rural areas have said they feel neglected by the government in the vaccination programme despite the rise of COVID-19 infections and deaths countrywide.

Villagers in Plumtree, Matabeleland South, told The Citizen Bulletin that even information dissemination was lacking. Said Meissa Khupe:

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I have never seen health workers moving around in my ward disseminating information about the vaccine.

I only get to hear about vaccination on foreign radio stations and it would be about shortages of vaccines in urban areas.

I feel we are neglected in rural areas. Maybe it's because we are viewed as not contributing much to the economy of this country.

It hurts to hear on the radio that vaccine doses are being delivered in Harare and other parts of the country. Why are vaccines not available at my nearest clinic?

The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) conducted a survey and observed that in "all 20 communities of Insiza, Gwanda, Mangwe, and Matobo Districts that were sampled and surveyed," there was no COVID-19 vaccine in local clinics for over a month now.

In some clinics, they had the second dose and not the first one.

This comes as Zimbabwe is aiming to vaccinate 60 per cent of the population to achieve herd immunity for things to return to normality.

Itai Rusike, Community Working Group on Health's executive director said vaccine equity is very important in fighting the coronavirus.

More: The Citizen Bulletin