Maseru – Lesotho finally received its second batch of 36,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines this week Monday after a long wait.
The second batch was donated by France through the COVAX facility after India, which was initially supposed to make the supply, was overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases at home.
According to the National COVID-19 Secretariat, Lesotho recorded 117 new cases since April this year. Seventeen were recorded in April while the other 100 were recorded in May. The cumulative cases stood at 10,831 mid this week, with 326 deaths amidst fears of a devastating third wave, particularly due to the country’s proximity to South Africa where infections are on the rise.
Health Minister Semano Sekatle said Lesotho expected to get more vaccines from the African Union in addition to a donation of over 100,000 doses from China.
Last week, the minister told the media in Maseru that the second batch of AstraZeneca would be the last one as the government has now resolved to procure Johnson & Johnson doses as they were “is cheaper logistically” because only one dose of these had to be administered per person.
UNICEF Country Representative to Lesotho Anurita Bains this week said of the second batch: “We are grateful to partners of COVAX for working tirelessly to ensure that countries like Lesotho have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
World Health Organisation Country Representative Richard Banda added: “The sooner Basotho are vaccinated, the sooner we can ease the burden on nurses and frontline workers, the sooner children can fully continue with their learning, and we can build back better to ease the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and well-being of families.
“COVID-19 continues to take a toll on countries and individuals. WHO will continue working together with partners to support the government in ensuring that vaccines get to all eligible people for all of us to be safe.”