WITH COVID-19 infections increasing rapidly in the last three weeks, Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro announced on Thursday that the country expects 400 000 doses of Johnson and Johnson and Sinopharm in the next few days to initiate vaccination of other groups of the society.
July 23, 2021
2 min read
Lesotho readies for mass vaccination of people
Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro
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This, after the first batch of frontline workers was vaccinated with 36 000 doses of AstraZeneca since March.
To date, a total of 26 000 frontline workers has been vaccinated. This includes political leaders, nurses and doctors, journalists as well as elderly people among other groups.
The country expects further shipment of at least 100 000 doses monthly, bought from the African Union Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).
Lesotho will receive 100 000 doses until it reaches to a total amount of 1.1 million.
Starting next month, Dr Majoro said the country will vaccinate 100 000 people.
His announcement is in line with the statement the US President Joe Biden made a few weeks ago that a fresh tranche of vaccine doses would be made available for seven African countries including Lesotho.
Biden announced that the U.S will be making vaccine donation through the COVAX facility, co-run by the World Health Organization (WHO), CEPI and GAVI. He said it will consist of the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine.
Other countries tipped to benefit include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gambia, Niger, Senegal and Zambia.
Bidden said the donations come with no strings attached, adding that Lesotho will receive a total of 302 400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The third wave of the pandemic brought a new variant of the virus to Lesotho, the Beta variant, identified in the neigbouring South Africa in August 2020. This strain spreads more rapidly than the previous ones and is thought to have a higher risk of re-infection.
On Thursday Dr Majoro announced that the country will be moving to purple colour code effective from Friday as the country has breached the threshold of epidemic control, which is 5 percent positivity rate.
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“At 9 to 10 percent and rising, this level of infection, coupled with rising health system utilisation and a full blown third wave in South Africa necessitate a review of the current mitigation standard,” he said.
During the purple colour code, schools and institutions of higher learning are expected to open on rotational basis while a curfew will start from 9pm - 5am.
Retail outlets including grocery stores, cafes and clothing stores are permitted to operate from 8am – 6pm while entertainment events and performances are not allowed.
Movements across borders are restricted except for essential goods and services, business people including hawkers with permits and truck drivers, migrant workers as well as all people with special needs shall be approved by the Minister of Health.