…M25 million paid as deposit for further vaccines
Slightly over one percent of the country’s about two million population, has been vaccinated against the Covid-19 global pandemic, according the Minister of Health Semano Sekatle.
Addressing the National Assembly on Monday, Sekatle pointed out that 20, 267 have so far been vaccinated as part of a rollout of the 36 000 doses of Astrazeneca which were received from India.
The vaccination which was begun last month was meant for front-line workers and the most vulnerable including health services workers, the elderly, the terminally sick, port of entry workers and the media among others.
Since the first case was recorded in the country almost a year ago, 74 675 people have been tested, with 10 720 testing positive of whom 5975 recovered while some 316 succumbed to death to the virus, meaning there are about 3 709 active cases. The statistics are as per reports by the National Covid-19 Secretariat NACOSEC released on Wednesday.
Sekatle said the country awaits further doses of vaccines in order to reach its target of over 60% of the population. He indicated that Lesotho is expecting 946,253 doses of AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson from the Covax facility.
“We are expecting another 1,156,806 doses of Johnson and Johnson from the African Union (AU) for which the government has already paid a 15% deposit which is 25 million for the vaccine,” he said.
Sekatle stated that, Lesotho like any other countries of the world, has done all it takes to procure covid-19 vaccine for Basotho. There are only two ways that countries especially African countries can use to get vaccines which are through Covax Facility and through African Union.
“The Covax Facility is an initiative made so that even countries with low economy can get vaccine just like other countries. It is through this initiative that each country is helped to get the covid-19 vaccine that can at least be used to vaccinate 20% of the population of that country,” he said.
Sekatle said the second opportunity is through the African Union which vaccine is paid for by the countries themselves, while the Covax Facility initiative sees countries with bigger financial muscle help those in need like Lesotho with the guidance of United Nations.
Each person takes two doses of AstraZeneca which are separated by a three-month gap, while with the Johnson and Johnson, one takes just one dose of the vaccine.
According to Sekatle, the country has ordered Johnson and Johnson in large quantities so that a lot of Basotho people can get vaccinated within a short space of time. The ministry of health is expecting to receive large quantities of the vaccine in May. The manufacturing of the vaccine is lower than its demand. It turns out that the manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine has resulted into financial politics for the countries of the world. “From the Covax Facility the country is expecting to receive 946,253 doses of vaccine to be used to vaccinate 430, 115 people which is 20% of the population and 1,156,806 of Johnson and Johnson vaccine that will be used on 40% of the population. On the other hand, India has promised to give Lesotho a further 30,000 doses of Astrazeneca,” he said.