Lesotho has on Monday received the second consignment of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.
This shipment of 36 000 doses of AstraZeneca is part of a donation made by the Republic of France through the COVAX facility.
In his appreciation remarks, the Minister of Health, Mr. Semano Sekatle expressed gratitude to the Republic of France, saying this strengthens the mutual relations between France and Lesotho.
He added that the second batch arrives at the time when the country could experience a rise in COVID-19 cases because South Africa as the neighbouring country might experience the third wave, commenting that winter is when many people get infected by flu.
He, therefore, called on Basotho who have not been vaccinated to take the opportunity and vaccinate to avoid being infected with COVID-19, adding that prevention is better than cure.
He remarked that this is a huge achievement for the country, noting that it is important because more Basotho are going to be vaccinated.
He, therefore, urged Basotho to refrain from listening to myths that vaccine causes clots and all kinds of disorders, saying it is important that every Mosotho gets vaccinated.
On the other hand, UNICEF Representative to Lesotho, Ms. Anurita Bains said Lesotho has access to the COVID-19 vaccine and that vaccination is an important step towards recovery.
She said the sooner Basotho are vaccinated, the sooner they can ease the burden on nurses and frontline workers, and the sooner children can fully continue with their learning.
“We can build back better to ease the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and well-being of families, ” she remarked.
“This second delivery marks another milestone in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Lesotho. It’s an important delivery, as the global supply of AstraZeneca has been delayed due to limited supply and delays in the export of the vaccine from India, as the country has faced a fierce and intense wave of COVID-19,” she added.
She noted that this delivery will allow the Ministry of Health to reach the first 36,000 Basotho, Primarily Health Care workers to receive the second dose within the recommended schedule.
On one hand, WHO Representative for Lesotho, Dr Richard Banda said COVID-19 continues to take a toll on countries and individuals saying, therefore, that WHO will continue to work together with partners to support the government of Lesotho in making sure that vaccines get to all eligible people for all to be safe.
He said this shipment is the second tranche of many that will be allocated to Lesotho in the coming months through the COVAX Facility, which is working to accelerate the development of and access to COVID-19 vaccines, saying the vaccine is a critical step in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that even as the vaccine is rolled out, all Basotho are encouraged to continue to wear a mask, wash their hands regularly and practice social distancing.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) working in partnership with UNICEF and the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others. In addition, COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The second batch of vaccine is expected to cover 394,000 people.
Source: LENA 01/06/2021