GABORONE, 11 April 2021 – Botswana’s health ministry has further restricted eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to only citizens aged over 75, blaming supply shortages.
Younger people had, apparently, jumped to the front of the line after taking advantage of their IT skills to secure a spot through online bookings.
Priority will henceforth be given only to the elderly now that we have only few doses remaining, the director of health services at Bostwana’s ministry of health, Dr. Malebogo Kebabonye, told reporters.
As of Friday, Botswana had vaccinated 13,690 people and its health ministry said only 24 people had reported mild to serious side effects after receiving a jab.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has pledged to do everything necessary to save lives, including foregoing planned development projects to devote resources to fighting COVID-19, according to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane.
Last March 9, Botswana received a donation of 30,000 COVID-19 vaccines from India. The Covishield vaccines are the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
Later the same month, the southern African country received 24,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine SKBioscience in South Korea.
The late March 2021 delivery was the first batch of a total shipment of 100 000 vaccines purchased by the Government of Botswana, enabled through the COVAX Facility.
COVAX is devoted to accelerating the development of and access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The initiative, put in place by the World Health Organization, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, manufacturers, civil society organizations, and others.
As of Sunday, Botswana had confirmed 42,674 COVID-19 cases with 636 fatalities and 38,203 full recoveries.