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Masvingo top doctor rubbishes COVID-19 vaccine, urges people to fight ‘bad governance’

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  • In 2015, Dr Rukatya and two other colleagues were probed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care following complaints from patients over their conduct. They were accused of negligence that was suspected to have caused seven avoidable deaths out of the 18 that were recorded at Chiredzi Hospital the previous year.

By Mutsa Makuvaza

CONTROVERSIAL former Chiredzi General Hospital District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr Tungamirai Rukatya has said there is no reason to take the Covid-19 vaccines as the benefits of taking them are outweighed by the attendant risks.

Dr Rukatya was in 2015 among the three doctors who transferred from Chiredzi Hospital to Masvingo by the Ministry of Health after they were accused of dereliction of duty that caused the death of seven patients. They were also accused of negligence and absenteeism.

Rukatya, who is now in private practice, told a Masvingo-based publication there was no ample time to scientifically prove the efficacy and side effects of all the Covid-19 vaccines available on the market today. He further called for the use of local remedies such as zumbani and urged people to fight poor governance than focus on vaccination.

“It takes at least 5 to 10 years, scientifically, to conclusively say a vaccine works. In Zimbabwe, coronavirus has been there for some time and the mortality rate has largely been below 5 percent, meaning that there is no justified reason to risk taking the vaccine,” said Dr Rukatya.

Dr Rukatya also said it was more prudent for Zimbabweans to fight other growing problems like malaria, poor governance and poverty and also use local remedies like zumbani in fighting against the virus.

“The benefit of taking the risk is outweighed by negative effects of the vaccine. This is not the case in Europe and America where the mortality rate was way above 15 percent which makes their case much different from ours.

“We have climate on our side. Let’s focus on our problems namely malaria, poor governance and poverty. So let’s use zumbani for now and prevent being guinea pigs for no benefit,” said Rukatya.

In 2015, Dr Rukatya and two other colleagues were probed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care following complaints from patients over their conduct. They were accused of negligence that was suspected to have caused seven avoidable deaths out of the 18 that were recorded at Chiredzi Hospital the previous year.

Meanwhile, Government says the vaccine will be administered to those who want them and nobody will be forced to take it. This comes as Zimbabwe received the first consignment of 200 000 SinoPharm Vaccine from the People’s Republic of China on February 15, 2021.

The vaccine doses came as a donation and the country is also expecting another batch of the same type of vaccines which it has procured.

While making a review of the Zimbabwe National lockdown last Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said they expected more vaccines from Russia, India and the United Kingdom (AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines).

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was condemned by South African scientists after trials showed that it was not effective  against a new Covid-19 variant which now accounts for over 90 percent of new infections in that country. – Zimbabwe Voice / TellZim

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