ZC players, staff go for COVID-19 vaccination

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has once again taken the lead by making arrangements for its staff and players to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Some ZC employees voluntarily received the jab this weekend after the organisation heeded the call by the government for all citizens to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

“We as ZC have taken this initiative to have everybody vaccinated – voluntarily of course – in accordance with the national vaccination programme,” ZC chief medical officer Dr Solomon Madzogo said.

“When the vaccination programme was rolled out, initially it began with the frontline healthcare workers, but it has now cascaded down to anybody who is willing to be vaccinated.

“So we have taken it upon ourselves to get vaccinated because of the benefits which include reduced risk of infection, reduced risk of severe disease, reduced risk of death itself and reduced risk of transmission of the virus to other people.

“This is beneficial to not only ZC as an organisation but effectively protects their families as well. “After the staff and players, we will go a step further in organising vaccination for spouses and family members as no one should be left behind.”

Apart from the vaccination initiative, ZC also became the first sporting organisation in Zimbabwe to organise international cricket events since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, with the Pakistan women’s team visiting in February while their men’s side will be arriving in the country this coming weekend for a month-long tour.

On the domestic front, ZC has successfully staged the National Premier League, the Women’s Fifty50 Challenge, the Women’s T20 Cup as well as regional games.

The first-class competition, the Logan Cup, was recently completed, while the men’s T20 tournament got underway this weekend — all these being held in a bio-secure bubble, which refers to an environment relatively cut off from the outside world so as to greatly minimise the risk of players and support staff contracting COVID-19.

The bubble covers team accommodation facilities, transport as well as practice and match venues. Players, match officials and support staff have to be tested for the coronavirus before they can check into strictly controlled accommodation facilities.

Accordingly, all those in the bubble are not permitted to have access to families, visitors, friends and relatives for the duration of the seclusion period.

Besides being expected to strictly adhere to all COVID-19 protocols such as sanitisation and social distancing, all individuals within the bubble are monitored daily through temperature and symptom checks. Dr Madzogo said although ZC had successfully implemented the bubble concept, it was important for all involved in the game to get vaccinated.

“While cricket is considered to be a mild to moderate-risk sport . . . a lot of movement and contact is involved in the game and whether we go by way of bio-secure bubbles or observing COVID-19 protocols, the risk is still there,” he said.

“Cricket also involves a lot of travel and with Zimbabwe being a Test-playing nation it becomes much more important for us as an organisation to have our players, support staff and administration staff vaccinated.

“I don’t see any reason why anybody shouldn’t get vaccinated because the benefits far outweigh the risks involved. “Prevention is always better and cheaper than cure, so for us the time is now.”