Government yesterday rolled out a massive vaccination programme against cholera in Glen View and Budiriro, Harare, as it moves to protect residents from the water-borne disease, which has so far killed 49 people and infected 10 000 others.

People across age groups queued to receive the first dose of the oral vaccine.

The vaccine protects people from bacteria that causes cholera for the next three to five years if they get the complete dosage between now and the next six months.

By mid morning yesterday, over 200 people had been vaccinated at Budiriro Community Hall.

Officially launching the vaccination campaign in Budiriro yesterday, which runs up to Sunday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo urged residents to embrace the programme.

Dr Moyo, who also took the vaccine on site, said the vaccine was recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“I received the vaccination myself to give confidence to the people of Zimbabwe that this vaccine is safe hence people must not fear that it might have serious side effects. In fact, it will be protective to the individual who has been vaccinated against cholera,” said Dr Moyo.

He emphasised that those who were vaccinated must receive a second dose before the onset of the rainy season for adequate protection for the next three years.

Dr Moyo reiterated that the vaccine and other current interventions were stop gap measures to allow other arms of Government to work on long term solutions, which include refurbishment of sewer and water reticulation systems.

“For now the Government wants to make sure that the current cholera outbreak is taken care of and then we move into setting up permanent solutions, which are clean water and sanitation processes,” he said.

Director of the Civil Protection Department Mr Nathan Nkomo, who was representing Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo — who chairs the cholera inter-ministerial committee — said work towards finding a long-term solution was underway.

He said all the 32 local authorities and 60 rural district councils had been asked to submit their requirements to upgrade their sewer and water reticulation systems.

Mr Nkomo said an inter-ministerial committee on infrastructure would meet in Harare today.

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