After a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 36 000 people infected, over 500 lives lost, and thousands of families affected in countless ways, the path to recovery for Botswana can now begin with the arrival of a vaccine for COVID-19.
The delivery of the first 33 600 doses of the AstraZeneca South Korea COVID-19 Vaccine licensed to SKBioscience in Korea, is part of the largest, most complex global roll-out of vaccines in history through the COVAX Facility which plans to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year. This is an unprecedented global effort to make sure all citizens have access to vaccines.
“UNICEF is proud to support the Government of Botswana in this vital work. Availability of vaccines will go a long way in protecting the lives of Batswana from the COVD-19 scourge. Each step on this journey brings us further along the path to recovery for Batswana children and their families affected by COVID-19 and importantly the start of the vaccination roll-out brings immense hope for the population of Botswana.” Joan Matji, UNICEF Representative for Botswana.
The shipment received today is the first tranche of many that will be allocated to Botswana in the coming months through the COVAX Facility. The facility is working to accelerate the development of and access to COVID-19 vaccines. It is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, manufacturers, civil society organizations and others.
“WHO and the COVAX partners are happy to support the Government of Botswana in combating COVID-19. These vaccines will complement the other public health measures including wearing of masks, handwashing and social distancing. Botswana has done a tremendous job in their efforts to control the disease and roll out vaccination. We commend their efforts and reaffirm our commitment to support them further.” WHO Representative, Dr Josephine Namboze.
To facilitate vaccinating against the COVID-19 scourge, the Ministry has launched an on-line COVID-19 vaccination self-registration portal for eligible vaccine beneficiaries to register. The on-line self-registration will assist in identifying the eligible vaccine beneficiaries as well as help plan for the distribution of vaccine. “Once registered, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will communicate with the enrolled individuals about vaccination program, eligibility, place of vaccination, follow-up and appointments” Director, Health Services, Dr. Malebogo Kebabonye.