Vaccination hesitancy fades

By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

Vaccine hesitancy which marred the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination for school going children is slowly fading as more parents are allowing their children to be inoculated against the deadly virus.

Out of childhood innocence, primary school learners at St Paul’s Senkwazi Primary in Zhombe East were hesitant to be vaccinated after the launch of the first phase of the COVID-19 blitz on the 21st of March.

“Last time when the nurses came at our school I ran away because I was afraid of the injection because I had heard from my mom that you would die if you got jabbed,” a pupil confessed.

“My mom was told by our church leader that the injections are deadly so I should not get the injection, but after seeing that some of my friends who were injected did not die my mom then advised me to go ahead and get the jab,” another said.

“The response is so positive because the numbers are increasing. From last time we had 44, now the number is increasing and the community seems to have embraced the programme because parents whose children were not vaccinated were actually coming to enquire at the school when the team will be back,” noted Mrs Shumirai Mananike, the Deputy Head at St Paul’s Senkwazi Primary School.

Kwekwe District Medical Officer, Dr Nyasha Mwasunda is confident the figures will pick up as more parents are now forthcoming.

“When the first blitz was introduced towards the end on March we tried hard to vaccinate huge numbers, but we faced some challenges. There was a lot of hesitancy and parents were not sure why this vaccination was now being said to be safe for children aged 12 and 17, but gradually the communities have been forthcoming and numbers started to improve.”

With 220 000 eligible individuals, almost half of the population in Kwekwe district has been vaccinated so far, with the figures expected to improve by the end of this week as the vaccination blitz comes to an end.