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Vaccinate Journalists Together With Other Frontline Workers: MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has appealed to government to consider journalists among the first group of people to be considered for COVID-19 vaccination.

MISA recommended that the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) facilitates modalities for the roll out since the media was declared an essential service in terms of Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 regulations.

 “In any case, the media, by virtue of its fundamental and normative role of informing and educating, is key to the coverage of the immunization rollout.

“The media can, therefore, not be left out for later consideration as journalists will be reporting from the frontline as the country rolls out immunization of the essential groups identified to “receive the first jabs.

“The government can work closely with the Zimbabwe Media Commission, media houses and media representative organizations on how best to implement the immunization for journalists as they are a critical component of the sectors and groups that have been declared essential services,” said MISA in a statement.

MISA also said journalists, like other essential priority groups, are frontline workers play a critical role in keeping the nation informed on developments and measures the government is taking to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the recommendations MISA was drawing parallels from Zambia, where the Ministry of Health authorities reportedly included media in its priority lists of recipients of the COVID-19 vaccinations.

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“Journalists are frontline workers that risk their lives as they collect and disseminate information hence the need to prioritize their health and safety.

“Lessons can be drawn from Zambia, which through its Ministry of Health, recently announced that journalists would be among the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive in that country,” said MISA.

Operations of the media during the pandemic induced lockdown have not been smooth sailing, as some personnel were subject of violations including harassments, manhandling and arrests while performing their lawful duties.

MISA Advocacy committees have since engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) across the country to discuss the safety of journalists in the face of continued arrests for expired cards caused by ZMC challenges.

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