THE second phase of the government’s mass Covid-19 vaccination programme is expected to begin today at Scott Hospital, Morija.
Their Majesties King Letsie III and Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso are among those expected to grace the official launch of the second phase. They will receive their second jabs.
They both attended the inaugural launch of the campaign in March this year and got their first jabs along with Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and other senior government officials.
One of the health ministry’s coordinators of the vaccination programme, ‘Mamonaheng Posholi, yesterday said only those who received their first jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine when the programme began in March will be eligible for their second dose.
“All those who received their first jabs of the vaccine at various health centres in March must visit the same facilities for their second doses,” Ms Posholi said.
“Those who have not received the first jabs will have to wait until after we have received a different vaccine for the purpose,” she added.
This was in reference to the government’s plans to switch to the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Health Minister Sekatle recently said they would procure Johnson & Johnson vaccines because “they present less logistical challenges as people only have to be vaccinated once”.
The launch of the second phase follows last week’s delivery of 36 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by France. The vaccines were handed over to Mr Sekatle and World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Richard Banda, by UNICEF country representative Anurita Bains.
Mr Sekatle said Lesotho was expecting more vaccines from the African Union (AU) and a donation of over 100 000 vaccines from China. The arrival of more doses will enable those who are yet to be vaccinated to be jabbed.
Lesotho received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines on 3 March 2021. The 36 000 doses enabled the government to roll out its mass vaccination programme a week later.
After the government leaders were jabbed, the vaccination campaign was then spread to essential workers such as health workers and media practitioners. The ministry also vaccinated the elderly and those with life-threatening conditions like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
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These groups will receive their second and final doses of the vaccines during the second phase of the vaccination programme.
People in Maseru will start getting vaccinated today with the Berea and Mafeteng districts following tomorrow.
People in other districts will start getting vaccinated on Monday.