Zimbabwean law authorities battle COVID-19 vaccination card cheats

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As Zimbabwe forges ahead with vaccinating its citizens in a bid to achieve herd immunity, a new monster of vaccination cards cheats is rearing its head.

The police have in recent weeks arrested a number of people who have been issuing authentic vaccination cards to unvaccinated people who need them for their businesses but do not want to be vaccinated for various reasons.

Police reported this week that they had arrested a member of staff at Marondera General Hospital, about 80 km south of capital Harare, for allegedly issuing out vaccination cards to unvaccinated people.

“The arrest led to the recovery of an assortment of medicinal drugs and equipment at the suspect’s home. Investigations are in progress,” the police said in a statement Wednesday.

Prior to this arrest, the police had also arrested three people in Seke, also south of Harare, for selling vaccination cards at 25 U.S. dollars each to people who are unwilling to be vaccinated.

With the government opening up more vaccination centers and allowing private clinics and pharmacies to administer the vaccines at a nominal fee, there are fears that the security of the vaccination program will be compromised.

Police are also still investigating the theft of 45 vaccination cards from the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare in late July.

Another 13 cards had been stolen from a health facility in Madziwa, Mashonaland Central Province, a few days earlier.

The government recently allowed fully vaccinated congregants to attend church service, but it is understood that some church leaders are having a difficult time turning away those who are not vaccinated.

Many others who have only received the first jab also want to attend church but are not being allowed and are being advised to participate in activities online.

The government also announced on Wednesday night that restaurants would be allowed to serve sit-in meals to fully vaccinated people upon production of vaccination cards, raising chances for the issuance of more cards to unvaccinated people.

Zimbabwe is one of the leading countries in Africa as far as COVID-19 vaccination is concerned and it aims to vaccinate at least 10 million people, or about 70 percent of the population, so as to achieve herd immunity.

The government has so far acquired 13 million doses of the vaccines out of the 20 million required in order to achieve herd immunity.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Wednesday that on the advice of scientists, the vaccination program would be extended to the 14 to 17 year age group.

Prior to this, only those above 18 years were being inoculated.

As of Wednesday, the number of people who had been fully vaccinated stood at 1,535,298 while the number of those who had received the first dose was 2,422,256. Enditem

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