Zimbabwean president to get his first shot of China's Sinovac vaccine this week

HARARE, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will get his first shot of China's Sinovac vaccine on Wednesday in the resort town of Victoria Falls where he will also launch the country's second phase of the inoculation program.

This file photo shows Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the nation on the coronavirus lockdown regulations, at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, on July 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Wanda)

Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga said this in a statement Sunday night.

"The Second Phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program will be officially launched by His Excellency the President, Cde. E.D. Mnangagwa, this week, Wednesday, 24th of March, 2021, in the tourism city of Victoria Falls. On the day, His Excellency the President will receive his first jab of Sinovac," Chiwenga said.

Chiwenga said Mnangagwa will be accompanied by leaders of other political parties in Zimbabwe who will also receive their first jabs on the same occasion.

In Victoria Falls, the government will launch the second phase of the vaccination program for all residents in the city where Zimbabwe recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 20 last year.

"This vaccination exercise will pave way for the resumption of unlimited tourism activities in the city which is a world attraction," Chiwenga said.

Zimbabwe launched the first phase of its vaccination drive on Feb. 18 with Chiwenga becoming the first citizen to receive China's Sinopharm vaccine. He received his second jab last Thursday.

This was after Zimbabwe received its first batch of Sinopharm vaccines that were donated by China. Last week, Zimbabwe also took delivery of another batch of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China, and an additional batch of the Sinovac vaccine that it purchased.

Frontline workers, journalists, ports and immigration officials were targeted under phase one while the second phase will target teachers and workers in the tourism and tobacco industry, among others.

Zimbabwe is targeting to vaccinate 60 percent of its population in order to achieve herd immunity. As of Sunday, Zimbabwe had vaccinated 42,729 people.