THE government will set aside M240 million to procure Covid-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has said.
This in addition to the free vaccines Lesotho expects to receive from the COVAX facility (a fully subsidised initiative by the World Health Organisation to enable poor countries to get free vaccines) in April this year.
COVAX has committed to donating vaccines to cover only 20 percent of the populations of each of the 92 countries in the facility. These countries, including Lesotho, will hence have to purchase extra vaccines to cover the remainder of their populations.
In a televised address to the nation this week, Dr Majoro said the procurement of the vaccines as well as the free vaccines would enable the government to achieve its target of vaccinating at least 1, 5 million out of the country’s 2, 1 million population Basotho by the end of the year.
“The government will set aside M240 million which will go towards the procuring of vaccines for the nation,” Dr Majoro said without explaining when the vaccines will be procured.
“The expectation is that by the end of 2021, at least 1, 5 million Basotho will be vaccinated but further details regarding the vaccination procedures will be explained by the Ministry of Health,” Dr Majoro said.
He added that through the partnership with other development partners, the government expected to get more free vaccines to help it realise its goal of ultimately vaccinating the entire nation.
The vaccination plans come at a time when Lesotho and most countries around the world are experiencing soaring infections and deaths.
The government has reimposed a lockdown which will see the country’s borders closed and international travel banned with effect from this morning among other measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. (See story on Page 4).
It is hoped that the vaccination programme will ultimately achieve herd immunity and permanently contain the virus.