Zimbabwe says private players can their own coronavirus vaccines but they must be given for free


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HON. BITI: I thank the Hon. Minister for his answer but I do not understand the logic of the policy that you want Government to be paid the money to do the importation.  For everything else in this country including drugs, ARV’s etcetera, private companies are bringing in, even food.  The Government should only play a regulatory role to ensure that the drugs that we are brining are registered, safe and are kept in the proper refrigerated conditions.  I thank you.

HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Yes, it is correct that Government is making sure that things are safe for this new vaccine.  We also want to make sure that Zimbabweans get this vaccine for free no matter the level.  So the private players, if they want to bring in their vaccines, if there is any particular one that they want that is registered here, they are allowed to bring it but make sure that it goes through Government channels that they then distribute it.  If the vaccine is meant for their workers, of course Government workers and nurses will ensure that they monitor and   help them roll out these new vaccines which are coming into the country, no matter which ones but what we are saying is that it is Government that will allow them to buy through Ministry of Finance. How they are going to do it and making sure that they give the people free the vaccine, we definitely will be allowing them to but we monitor how they give that vaccine to make sure that it is safely given and kept and that every Zimbabwean is not then put into a position where they have to buy the vaccine or are unable to access the vaccine. The private players genuinely, many of them who have approached us, we have made it clear to them that if they are buying for their workers or members like CIMAS can buy for its thousands of members via Ministry of Finance coffers, then the vaccine comes CIMAS will have the ability and capacity to then distribute it to their workers as long as we make sure that these things are closely monitored.  We do not want to miss  -any Zimbabwean who wants to be vaccinated should get the chance and we make sure that it remains for free for everyone.

HON. NDEBELE: I wish to seek clarity from the Minister, if everyone has to buy through the Ministry of Health, what is the exact policy that his Ministry pursues in choosing the covid-19 vaccines that are deployed in the country to say covid-19 vaccine X can be deployed here. What is the policy followed. What is the hesitancy around Covax – why is it taking us so long to sign up to this facility that ensures that poor countries get access to covid-19 vaccines cheaply?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): I will start with the last one about joining the Covax group. We have already signed for that long ago. Covax group includes all vaccines that are manufactured on earth and have been approved by WHO and has gone through the phases 1, 2 and some 3 and have all been registered and certified by WHO that they are safe. The policy is that before we bring in any vaccine into the country, our scientists must be satisfied that the requirements for any safe vaccine to be brought into the country are met. For instance, they must go through the dossiers for the first phase that was done, second phase and we also cross check with other peers in the world and finally we go to WHO to make sure that vaccine is registered. Whatever country that needs to have their vaccine brought here they are allowed to come in and register their vaccines via MCAZ and then the vaccine can be brought into the country. The most important thing is that our scientists and researchers have to be satisfied that this vaccine is going to be safe for the Zimbabwean population and wait for the next for the next deliveries because we are in the process of making sure that at least 10 million will be covered in the shortest time period.

Most of the buying is not done through the Ministry of Health but done by the Ministry of Finance. Those are the ones who are processing the buying, negotiating prices on how much we are going to get the vaccines. In short that is it, our scientists have to be happy. If anyone from the private wants to buy, they go to the Ministry of Finance and not Ministry of Health because even ourselves we buy through the Ministry of Finance. I thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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