By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus – According to Botswana’s health authorities, arrangements to receive nearly two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, enough to cover the entire adult population have been made. When every adult takes the vaccine, Botswana could become the first country in Africa to be fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus.
In a televised address Monday, Mosepele Mosepele, Deputy Coordinator of the Botswana Presidential COVID-19 Task Force, said that the country reached agreements with vaccine manufacturers to supply doses to cover 1.9 million people.
“Botswana has an adult population of 1.6 million. However, noncitizens are also eligible for the vaccine,” Mosepele added.
Besides, Botswana obtained 60,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine from India and the COVAX facility last month. Mosepele said the uptake of the vaccine has been impressive, with 47,160 receiving the jab since March 26.
Mosepele said he is not sure when the 1.9 million doses will arrive, but that the largest portion of the pending shipment is from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to deliver 1.1 million doses of its one-shot vaccine. In the meantime, the government this week received 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China.
“I also wish to implore all those who may be reluctant to do so, to step up and take their jabs. This process is intended for the good of all of us,” Kabo Morwaeng, Botswana’s Minister of Presidential Affairs, encouraged people to take the Sinovac doses.
He added that, “I must assure you that our health authorities, through the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BOMRA), will continue to ascertain that the vaccines we receive are safe for use by all of us.”
Botswana has recorded 702 deaths from COVID-19, with February and March being the deadliest months. Authorities have confirmed 46,000 cases of the virus overall.