Human rights group takes aim at government over COVID-19 vaccine prioritization


By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa


Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) a civil society organization that looks over the human rights of citizens in Zimbabwe, has challenged the government to prioritize vulnerable citizens towards the distribution of COVID-19 vaccination.


In their statement, CiZC expressed their concern impending the government’s planned effort to prioritize Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) the security sector together with senior government officials and frontline health care workers.


The coalition of human rights organisations, also indicated that government must consider vulnerable citizens who are failing to access medical care, amid the deteriorating economy.


“Government must prioritize vulnerable citizens on COVID -19 vaccination. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is disturbed by the apparent attempt by the government to sideline vulnerable citizens from the COVID-19 vaccination program , while reserving the vaccines for the political elites.


“We further implore the government to prioritize vaccination for citizens with terminal illnesses as well as those living with health conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.


“The Covid-19 vaccine should never be a preserve for the elite and we implore the government to ensure that ordinary Zimbabweans who continue to bear the brunt of a failing economy have access to the Covid-19 vaccine,” reads their statement.


The organisation also challenged government in relation to yesterday’s announcement made by government stating that it is failing to procure Covid 19 vaccines.


“On January 25, 2021, the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Robert Mudyiradima announced that government was failing to procure enough Covid-19 vaccines.


“Adding that of the 3 Million doses set to be acquired under the COVAX scheme, the government would prioritize frontline health care workers, ministers, Members of Parliament, the security sector and senior government officials,” reads the CiCZ statement.


Mudyiradima announced that government is failing to acquire adequate Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX scheme.


He revealed that of the 3 Million doses set to be acquired under the COVAX scheme, the government will prioritize frontline health care workers, ministers, Members of Parliament, the security sector and senior government officials.


However, CiCZ applauded the government’s effort to prioritize vaccination for frontline health workers, indicating that they are more exposed to the pandemic.


“While we applaud the move to prioritize vaccination for frontline health workers (who have largely been exposed to the pandemic due to lack of protective equipment at public hospitals), we bemoan the fact that the government has deliberately left vulnerable groups out of the vaccination program,” the statement expressed.


The country has so far recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths.