PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says the country is targeting to vaccinate 70 percent of the eligible population in order to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

And President Hichilema has directed Health Minister Sylva Masebo to ensure that all donations made towards the COVID-19 fight during the first wave are accounted for.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema says the appointment of a COVID-19 advisor is not threatening anyone’s job but only complementing efforts made towards the fight against the virus.

Speaking during the re-launch of the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign, Thursday, President Hichilema urged citizens to get vaccinated.

”We therefore opt to rejuvenate our COVID-19 vaccination campaign which is highly necessary to raise awareness and create unprecedented demand for key interventions so as to save lives. We must do this to save livelihoods, incomes for our people. In doing so we will be saving the economy. From the outset allow me to state that vaccines work. Science has told us the vaccines work; can we settle that debt from today onwards, vaccines work. I urge you therefore to make that critical decision to get vaccinated. I am not talking from without, I have been vaccinated, took the vaccine that required first jab, second jab. My wife Mutinta has done the same, our children have done the same. So, we have provided leadership at the household, please do the same. So let us move together,” President Hichilema said.

“Our government firmly believes that development is not possible without a healthy and productive population. As government we see health as a key pillar to human capital development. During our third wave our health systems were overstretched. If we don’t achieve head immunisation sufficiently enough towards 70 percent, we will negate the gains that the first world has achieved in getting their people vaccinated, because we will become hosts for mutations. So, we target to vaccinate 70 percent of our people. Please let us move away from the 30 percent to target 70 percent. That is a reasonable head vaccination. To bring this pandemic under control.”

He called on citizens to take full responsibility and control in the fight against the pandemic.

“As we relaunch this COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we call upon all Zambians to rise up and join hands in taking full responsibility and control in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. No one will do it for you, you have to do it for yourself, you have to do it with your family, with your community including those you associate with in the workplaces. It is very important because one of the assumptions that we make in our ordinary lives is that somebody out there will do this for us, no! This is a matter of urgency and it is indeed a matter of life or death. We respect science and take the necessary measures to survive. We don’t do it, someone will die,” President Hichilema said.

The Head of State directed Masebo to ensure that all donations made towards the fight against COVID-19 during the first wave were accounted for.

“Allow me to take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to our all weather partners who have provided financial support, technical support, and material support to fight this pandemic. I know in the first wave a lot of Zambians donated and we would like the Minister of Health for those donations to be accounted for properly, so that nothing goes to waste. You know my personal views about abuse of public resources. That is a departure point for me, what is meant for the people must be used by the people. I am confident that you were carefully selected to go to that Ministry to do exactly that. I know you still have the energy,” he said.

And President Hichilema said the recently appointed COVID advisor was not threatening anyone’s job.

“I am asking journalists, civic leaders to check your notebooks, check what we were saying during the campaigns. One of the things we said is that we will manage this pandemic better when we form government. Now we are here we are walking the talk, we said we will appoint a dedicated COVID advisor and we have done that. So that COVID advisor who is knowledgeable in this field will work with us in State House, providing technical guidance in our response to this deadly pandemic, working with the Minister of Health and other agencies. So, the COVID advisor is threatening nobody’s job but is complimenting everyone else’s efforts,” said President Hichilema.

Meanwhile, Masebo said the Ministry was taking appropriate measures to ensure that they were ready for a possible fourth COVID-19 wave.

“I want to assure you that we are already taking measures to ensure that we begin to improve the health of our people by addressing the various health challenges we face as a country. It is evident that the COVID-19 had taken a heavy toll on the heath care services and this requires renewed energy and strategy. I am pleased to inform you that the Ministry of Health is taking appropriate measures to ensure that we are ready for a possible fourth wave of the pandemic in a multisectoral manner,” said Masebo.

“Your excellency I will be failing in your duties if I did not share the good news with you today. Following your Excellency’s trip to the United States, the USA government and its people have committed to support Zambia with 1.6 million of COVID-19 vaccines. These are of different types.”