health

Aug. 9, 2021

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

3 min read

Lesotho pays for its J&J vaccine

Lesotho pays for its J&J vaccine

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

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THE Lesotho government has fully paid for a consignment of 108 000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine that it received from the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) on Saturday.

This, after it had earlier received another batch of 72 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the United States government.

This is the first shipment from the African Union (AU) AVAT that is fully paid for by the Lesotho government.

The AVAT Team (AVATT) has shown that each month, Lesotho will receive the same amount of doses until a 1.6 million dose order has been fulfilled.

AVATT has also indicated that should Lesotho utilise its vaccine stocks faster and on time, more vaccines will be allocated to the country.

Receiving the vaccine, Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro appealed to the Ministry of Health, together with its partners like the Lesotho private sector to expedite the vaccination programme so that all Basotho in and out of the country, especially in South Africa are fully vaccinated by Christmas.

For every batch that lands in Lesotho, Dr Majoro said there are many hardworking people in Lesotho and in other countries labouring in the background to ensure that all are vaccinated, adding that Basotho are thankful for all those efforts.

In this particular instance, he thanked, Strive Masiyiwa, who is a Special Envoy for COVID-19 vaccines for his exemplary efforts to secure vaccines for Africa and particularly for Lesotho.

He also thanked Vera Songwe of the Economic Commission for Africa for her dedication to ensuring that Lesotho is not forgotten, and Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the World Bank Country Director for supporting Lesotho to secure its financial resources for acquiring the vaccines.

The PM further extended his gratitude to Dr John Nkengasong of the Africa CDC for remaining engaged during the vaccine drought and his outspokenness on the need for equitable access to vaccines, the Lesotho private sector (Vodacom Lesotho, Letšeng Diamonds, and Sesiu), and the Ministry of Health Team working on vaccine procurement.

Due to all their efforts, Lesotho is poised to secure another batch of 100 000 doses of the J&J vaccine in the next two weeks.

Kimanzi Muthengi, UNICEF Representative to Lesotho said through the AVATT, countries across the continent will receive life-saving vaccine doses over the coming months.

This action, he said will help save lives and get economies back on track.

“As all countries begin to build their lives back to normal, may this day be a reference and a show of the potential that Africa has to work together for the benefit of all,” Mr Muthengi said.

He thanked and applauded all stakeholders who contributed to getting this delivery to the people of Lesotho.

He also lauded the private sector for living up to the spirit of corporate social responsibility and demonstrating that they are part of the community and are willing to contribute to the preservation of the communities they serve.

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As vaccination campaigns were being rolled out, all were reminded to continue wearing masks, regularly washing their hands, avoiding crowded places and practicing social distancing.

The AVATT, a 10-member team drawn from across the continent, was established in August 2020 to ensure that the African continent would be able to secure sufficient COVID-19 vaccine doses to achieve herd immunity.

It is a key component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy that was endorsed by the African Union (AU) Bureau of Heads of State and Government.

It is chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and includes Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Dr Zweli Lawrence Mkhize, Mr Masiyiwa, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Professor Benedict Oramah, H.E Amira Elfadi and Dr Nkengasong among others.

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