BECAUSE the mortality rate of the COVID-19 Fourth Wave was not as devastating as that of the third, there appears to be a false sense of security over the deadly pandemic.
True, the death rate has been relatively lower with the omicron variant, but it has proved to be highly transmissible.
The fact that this latest variant has been that contagious is a warning.
Just imagine the number of fatalities if this Fourth Wave had been as deadly as the third!
However, the unpleasant truth is that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over.
There is the possibility that a Fifth Wave might combine the nasty characteristics of the third with those of the ongoing fourth.
This would mean a highly transmissible lethal variant taking lives in thousands.
It’s a possibility too ghastly to contemplate.
But what is important now is to guard against that possible eventuality.
And, this is by vaccination.
Indeed, we can stop its spread by religiously following WHO protocols of sanitising our hands, wearing our masks properly and maintaining ‘safe’ physical distance.
But what should be our major concern now is to keep any new attack at bay.
Regrettably, Zimbabweans are not complementing efforts by Government to have people vaccinated.
If only people would take heed of Deputy Minister of Health Dr John Mangwiro’s advice.
“The issue of COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of life and death,” Dr Mangwiro warned.
What is disturbing is that despite the availability of vaccines, as of today, just about four million people have received their first dose.
And the discomforting reality is that only about three million the second, in a country with a population of 15 million people.
This is a country which had hoped to reach herd immunity of about 10 million people by the end of 2021.
The picture becomes even more gloomy when you imagine that only 42 000 people have so far received booster jabs.
Mind you, all these vaccines are for free.
Yet health practitioners have confirmed that vaccinations go a long way in preventing attacks by COVID-19.
In cases where a vaccinated person falls victim, the attack is usually mild and chances of hospitalisation are minimal.
These are results based on empirical evidence.
The Government has assured us there are enough vaccines at various centres for everyone.
The Government’s concern for its people is further demonstrated by the imminent start of the manufacture of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) kits by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
The Government, which has been importing these PCR kits for COVID-19 testing, released funds to purchase a US$86 000 machine for this purpose.
The local production is going to reduce test costs by at least 60 percent, making it affordable to a lot more people.
While the Government has been seen to be taking its part in trying to save people’s lives, what is puzzling is the low turnout of those willing to receive a jab for free.
At the outbreak of the Third Wave, there was a significant surge in the number of those who opted to be vaccinated.
The reported high number of deaths that accompanied this wave must have done the trick.
No doubt it was fear of death that triggered this stampede to be vaccinated.
Would people like another killing wave to break the present lull in vaccination?
It should never be so.
Thus we would like to urge people, of their own volition, to get the jab.
The challenge is also on the Government to encourage a greater uptake of COVID-19 jabs.
If all the people get vaccinated, lockdown measures will be lifted, with a swift return to ‘old normal’ and all it entails.
Meanwhile, it is always prudent to remain on the side of caution with whatever decisions related to dealing with COVID-19.