GOVERNMENT yesterday extended COVID-19 vaccination to minors aged between 12 to 15 years as authorities seek to ramp up inoculation.
The announcement came after health experts warned of a possible fifth wave following a spike in new infections in schools in the country since the beginning of the first term.
According to statistics from the Health and Child Care ministry, 219 cases were recorded on Monday with 64 of them being in schools.
In a post-Cabinet briefing, acting Information minister Jorum Gumbo said the vaccination threshold had been reduced to 12 years with immediate effect.
“During the week under review, 45 leaners in 38 schools have tested positive of COVID-19 while 11 members of staff also tested positive, all these active cases detected through the school surveillance system are under isolation and are being managed by the Health and Child Care Department,” Gumbo said.
“In view of the science-based guidance from the Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe, COVID-19 vaccination is extended to the 12-15-year-old age group.”
In November last year, COVID-19 vaccination was extended to teenagers over the age of 16.
Zimbabwe has inoculated just above 4,3 million with the first COVID-19 dose, while 3,3 million have received their second jab and 103 000 got booster jabs.
The country has recorded 233 352 cases and 5 386 fatalities.
“The risk communication sub-committee urgently meets with the expanded programme of the immunisation unit of the Health ministry and begins to prepare and mobilise the March to June national vaccination blitz.
Strict enforcement of COVID-19 regulations coupled with strengthened risk communication of the pandemic must continue,” Gumbo said.
Government last week further relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and reopened the country’s borders for public travel.