80% of target population to be vaccinated by March next year
Government aims to vaccinate at least 80% of the target population, 18 years and above by March next year.
When answering a question in Parliament, Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Sethomo Lelatisitswe, said that government continues to hope that with the developed countries having reached critical masses for their vaccination programmes and the global pressure for equity of vaccine supply, they expect to see a stable predictable flow of the vaccine starting next month.
“As per our National Development Vaccination Plan [NDVP), assuming a stable supply of vaccine, we wish to have covered at least 80% of our target population,” Lelatisitswe said, adding that it is the government’s commitment and his ministry’s to ensure rapid deployment of vaccine as stipulated within the NDVP.
The greatest challenge to date, Lelatisitswe said, remains the mismatch of demand and supply of vaccines globally.
He noted that the country has engaged in pooled procurement through the AVATT facility of African Union and COVAX facility supported by World Health Organisation (WHO).
“From both facilities, we expect to receive vaccines such as 93,000 does of Johnson and Johnson by August 2021 through COVAX facility, and the 1,152,514 doses through AVATT facility between next month and September.”
The Minister also mentioned that 81,900 doses of Pfizer were expected by the end of next month while 500,000 doses of Moderna were expected through Bilateral negotiations.
“The first batch of 16,500 doses is expected this month.”
Concerning hospital beds, Lelatisitwe explained that there were only 115 ICU beds, 38 of which were in government facilities.
He said that government continues to adopt a hierarchical approach to care through which critical care is initiated outside a hospital setting through the Emergency Medical Services and engagement of the private sector and the nearest health care facility on a needs basis.