Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube has made a surprise U-turn on earlier pronouncements that some Zimbabweans will have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine expected in the country from Russia and China soon.
The vaccine will be made available to the government of Zimbabwe through the support of global partners assisting developing countries.
In a recent interview with state media, Prof. Ncube said some groups will have to purchase the vaccine in order for government to recoup the cost of procurement.
“Private Citizens will have to pay for the vaccine,” he said.
“The vaccine is actually cheaper than some of the personal protective equipment that we are procuring. But there will be some groups that will be given the vaccine for free. The Health Ministry will clarify all these issues and reveal how different groups within the country will be treated regarding the vaccination,” explained Ncube.
But in a statement issued this morning, the Minister somewhat backtracked from his earlier position stating that the vaccine will not be for sale.
“It has come to my attention that my comments about the payment for the COVID-19 vaccine have been taken out of context. I would like to make it clear that the vaccines that the Government is procuring with the support of our international partners and friends, will be made available for free to the Citizens of Zimbabwe,” he said.
The development is the latest of government’s policy inconsistences that has often times prompted public distrust.