By LOYD MATARE in Harare

THE Zimbabwean government has given the private sector permission to charge a nominal administration fee for Covid-19 jabs as authorities seek to ramp up the inoculation programme amid rising cases.

In a July 15 letter to all health and provincial medical directors, Health ministry permanent secretary Jasper Chimedza, however, said the private players should not charge above the stipulated fees.

“The Covid-19 vaccination remains free in public institutions … However,  the private sector is allowed to charge a nominal administration fee of injection by doctor using AHFOZ (Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe) claim number 90070 — $434,35, and injection by a nurse 90072 — $220,64,” Chimedza said.

He added that the vaccines, syringes, registers and vaccination cards would be accessed through the provincial medical directors (PMDs) and city health directors (CHDs), who will in turn monitor the implementation of the vaccination programme.

“The recruitment of the private sector into this Covid-19 vaccination programme is subject to the participants not charging for the vaccines, daily reporting of statistics to the next level through the PMDs and CHDs and reporting of adverse events following immunisation if any,” Chimedza fsaid.

The vaccination programme was initially being solely carried out by public health institutions, before it was extended to private players, some of whom have been instrumental in the importation of vaccines.

Since the country started the vaccination programme in February this year, giving priority to frontline workers, 1 184 43 people have received the first jab, as of Monday.

With 85 732 confirmed cases and 2 697 deaths as of Monday, Zimbabwe is witnessing a rise in daily infections as it battles to beat the third wave.

The government has been pushing for the importation of more vaccines, with a target to inoculate 10 million people by December to reach herd immunity.

In its drive to meet the target, Zimbabwe recently took delivery of two million Sinovac vaccines bought from China, before receiving a further 25 000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russian donated by diamond miner Alrosa Group, and is expecting two million more doses by the end of the month.

Chimedza said the government’s inoculation programme was now targeting: “Hotspot areas throughout the country, border towns, towns and cities, rural communities, learning institutions, market places, prisons, mining and farming communities.”

Speaking at the launch of the private Sector Covid-19 vaccination programme in April this year, deputy minister of Health John Mangwiro said the private sector was playing a complimentary role to the government efforts in the vaccination programme through equipping health facilities.

“Private sector has supported the ministry’s Covid-19 testing initiatives, promoted and implemented the preventative and treatment protocols laid down by the ministry in line with the World Health Organisation guidelines.

“It also contributed to the equipping of both private and public health facilities to ensure they offer appropriate treatment to Covid-19 patients who require it,” Mangwiro said. – Daily News