by Tichaona Chifamba
HARARE, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Some Zimbabwean doctors who are part of the frontline workers inoculated with their first doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China, saying it is safe and encouraged others to get the jab, state media reported Saturday.
Epidemiologist and director of health for Kadoma City Daniel Chirundu told The Herald newspaper that he had taken the vaccine for a number of reasons.
"I took the Sinopharm vaccine to protect myself, those I work with and our clients. My vaccination also served as a cue for action among my subordinates and others who are now demanding it. It has been three days and I have not experienced any side effects," he said.
Chirundu urged all Zimbabweans to accept vaccination if eligible.
He also encouraged Zimbabweans to continue wearing clean face masks the proper way, practicing social distance and hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and clean water).
"This is the only other non-pharmaceutical tool that is now available to complement our toolbox," he said.
Misheck Ruwende, a doctor at Bulawayo's Mpilo Central Hospital, said some people were anxious because COVID-19 was a novel disease and that vaccines were developed in a short period of time.
"That is not enough reason for people to say 'I should not take it.' It is just some of the steps that were supposed to be done as ABCD, that is B to come after A and C to come after B. It was now done as A along with B along with C. Remember people were dying and vaccine producers had to give way to all this so that vaccines come out early," he explained.
Ruwende added that the other challenge was that people are getting themselves involved in the geo-politics happening between the Western and Eastern countries.
"China is developing better and better things," he said.
Ruwende added that many Zimbabwean doctors were getting vaccinated.
"Even where I work, many doctors are getting vaccinated. So if doctors are leading, they know best about the side effects, about vaccines, and if they are giving us a good example, there is no need for people to be hesitant to take the vaccine," he emphasized.
Ruwende further said the Sinopharm vaccine had been used in various countries across the globe.
"It is being used in various countries. The United Arab Emirates was the first to approve it for their population in December. They had already approved it for their health workers months before. Hungary was the first European country to approve it, and they are already using it in their country," he said, adding that the Sinopharm vaccine was also being used in many other countries including Morocco and Egypt.
"The Sinopharm vaccine has gone through all clinical trials. My advice is whatever vaccine you get right now, just get it. The vaccines go through rigorous exercises." He said.
He added that "this is voluntary, no one is being forced."
He said skepticism was good in the absence of evidence, but thankfully available evidence was heavily in favor of vaccination.
"COVID-19 has killed over 2.5 million people worldwide including thousands of fellow Zimbabweans, some of them among our families and friends," he said.