Friday, 2 July 2021


With some organisations now strict on the need to get vaccinated, unscrupulous health personnel are making a quick buck by selling Covid-19 vaccination cards to individuals who do not want to be inoculated, The Manica Post can reveal.

Investigations conducted by The Manica Post over the past fortnight revealed that while some vaccination cards were forged, there was a leakage of genuine cards by crooked medical practitioners in both Government and local authority institutions in Mutare.

Zimbabwe is on an inoculation drive with a target to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the country’s population.

So far, Zimbabwe has administered at least 1.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, with about 500 000 fully vaccinated.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme initially faced resistance owing to conspiracy theories that were circulating on social media.

However, most people have now embraced the programme, with some areas around the country exhausting their stocks of the vaccine as people come in the numbers to get vaccinated.

Be that as it may, a small section of the community remains hesitant to get the jab for one reason or the other.

Desperate to prove that they have been “vaccinated,” it is this section that is now being targeted by the vaccination card peddlers.

After sniffing out this rot, The Manica Post went undercover and managed to buy a vaccination card for US$25 with the help of middlemen on the streets of Mutare.

It was established that the vaccination card peddling syndicates have middlemen sourcing for business in the boarder town’s Central Business District.

According to investigations, the middleman who supplied the vaccination card to this reporter allegedly got it from a health practitioner based at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.

However, efforts to establish the identity of the health practitioner proved fruitless as the middleman was determined to protect the source of his dirty money.

After making an advance payment of US$15 last Wednesday, this reporter was asked to submit personal identity details, before being promised that the vaccination card would be ready on the next day.

True to the middleman’s words, a vaccination card, Batch Number 00095310, was delivered to the reporter on Thursday last week.

The details provided by this reporter (under a false name) were correctly captured on the card and the US$10 balance was paid upon delivery of the card.

The card claims that the reporter was vaccinated at Meikles Park in Mutare’s CBD.

Apart from glaring mistakes that include the period between the first and second doses (12 May, 2021 for first dose and 25 May, 2021 for the second dose), the card appears genuine as it has a bar code, the coat of arms and is printed on a watermarked paper.

The normal period between the first and second dose should be, at least, 28 days, but in this case the bearer of the card supposedly got his second jab only 13 days after the first dose.

The certificate also indicates that the bearer was administered with the Sinovac vaccine whose expiry date was 11 April, 2024.

The vaccine batch number was inscribed as 2021/03006 for the first jab, while the scribbling on the second jab’s batch number is not clear.

Efforts to get a comment from Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr Dorcas Masanga-Mutede, proved fruitless as her mobile phone went unanswered.

Covid-19 National Coordinator, Dr Agnes Mahomva referred all questions to the Provincial Medical Director, Dr Simon Nyadundu.

Acting Mutare DMO, Dr Oliver Makengo, said while a certain nurse was recently under investigation over a similar issue, charges against him were later dropped due to insufficient evidence as there were no reports of missing cards in the district.

“We have only come across one such case involving a nurse. However, it was dropped since the district did not register any missing cards. The possibility of people duplicating these cards should be considered, but we will continue to be vigilant to guard against that. If we come across any such cases we will definitively update the media,” said Dr Makengo.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda said the police force is yet to make any arrests of people selling or making fake Covid-19 vaccination cards.

Inspector Chananda urged those with information leading to the arrest of such syndicates to alert their nearest police station.

“As security agents, we have a duty to protect public health. Those selling Covid-19 vaccination cards are endangering their lives, their families and the general public. We urge those with information leading to the arrest of the culprits to come forward. This will be in the interest of public health. They can alert their nearest police station,” said Inspector Chananda.

In April this year, Cabinet during its 9th Session resolved to produce a vaccination card with more security features following reports of production of fake cards by unscrupulous individuals. Manica Post


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