MISA Zimbabwe calls upon the government to prioritise and also include journalists among the first priority groups listed for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme.
Our request is informed by the fact that the media was declared an essential service in terms of Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 regulations.
Journalists, together with other essential priority groups, are frontline workers that need to be prioritised as well given the critical role they play in keeping the nation informed on developments and measures the government is taking to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
In any case, the media, by virtue of its fundamental and normative role of informing and educating, is key to the coverage of the immunisation 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 immunisation 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 organisations on how best to implement the immunisation for journalists as they are a critical component of the sectors and groups that have been declared essential services.
Journalists are frontline workers that risk their lives as they collect and disseminate information hence the need to prioritise 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.