A YEAR ago on March 24 Zimbabwe recorded its first Covid-19 death; today 1 521 deaths later there are still lingering doubts among a huge section of our society over the existence of the virus that causes the disease. This is disheartening especially considering the doubters are mostly young people, many of them with a university education.
By my own survey seven out every 10 young people dismiss Covid-19 as just another flu. They cite other respiratory diseases that have hit the world in the past as having been worse and say therefore there is no reason to lose sleep over something that will eventually pass. These young people resist vaccination on the basis of this scepticism.
They are not difficult to identify, just move around where they congregate; places such as liquor stores and bus stations. One can see them with no masks at all, or if they have, the masks are worn like grotesque linen necklaces, mostly under their chins.
The reason why they carry masks at all is to evade the police who are trying to enforce the government and WHO directives on the prevention of the spread of the virus.
Besides the scepticism, these young people are also the purveyors of conspiracy theories, the most enduring of which is the belief that the jab comes with an electronic chip that will be inserted in the body. One would have thought that by now the chip heresy had run its course but it’s surprising just how prevalent it still is.
To imagine that all the manufacturers of vaccines including the US, UK, EU, Russia, China and India have conspired to insert chips into people borders on sheer lunacy.
This level of ignorance is an indictment of our government on its laxity in educating people on the Covid-19 pandemic. It means a lot still has to be done to inform people, ironically even the so-called educated ones, of the basics of this disease.
The Zimbabwean media has also been caught wanting in this regard. Its half-hearted approach to reporting on the pandemic is nothing but shameful; it has concentrated mainly on just the numbers rather than on the important themes of vaccine development and related issues such as vaccine efficacies.
The word efficacy has become part of our daily language but few know its import except it has been rendered as a meaningless number which no one understands because the media has not attempted to interpret the numbers into useful information.
The government effort to procure vaccines and rollout the inoculation programme has become something like throwing pearls to swine.
Instead of Zimbabweans celebrating their luck they have chosen to shun the programme to such an extent they may have to be forced to get vaxxed.
Zimbabwe now boasts a superfluity of vaccines, surely there should be one to fit every caprice.