By Gibson Nyikadzino
Prisoners held in the country’s correctional facilities are voluntarily taking the COVID-19 vaccine as the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) continues to register a surge in cases.
Zimbabwe has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases resulting from the delta variant.
Health Director in the ZPCS Dr. Evidence Gaka said the vaccination is mandatory on all correctional officers and open to willing inmates.
“The vaccination exercise is targeted on all correctional officers and willing inmates. Inmates who are willing to take the vaccine are taken through a process that helps them understand the idea of vaccination.
“So far we have 926 cases (as of yesterday) and of that total 222 are correctional officers, 432 are inmates and 272 are dependants of our officers who are spouses and children,” said Dr. Gaka.
According to Dr. Gaka, the vaccination drive has been initiated in all the country’s correctional facilities.
“So far over seven thousand officers and five thousand inmates have been vaccinated,” he added.
Zimbabwe is experiencing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths with over 91 000 confirmed cases and over 2800 deaths.
In April this year, Zimbabwe released about 3,000 prisoners under a presidential amnesty aimed at easing congestion to reduce the threat of COVID-19 in the country’s overcrowded jails.
Zimbabwe’s prisons have a capacity of 17,000 prisoners but continue to hold inmates more than their capacity.