- Special dispensation devised for soldiers deployed to foreign missions
The Commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Lt. General Placid Segokgo, has reportedly expressed concerns about soldiers being among the least vaccinated groups when they are frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.
As with other frontline workers, the BDF continues to lose its personnel to the pandemic in large numbers across all ranks.
Sources say a call by the BDF commander for prioritisation of soldiers as frontline workers seems to have fallen on deaf ears because they are merely being vaccinated their eligibility as individuals like everybody else.
As the clamour for prioritisation grows, teachers’ unions this week said their members would not return to work until they have been vaccinated while nurses have also demanded urgent reforms in the government’s vaccination programme.
Driven by spiking infections and rising deaths, schools are currently in recess.
In response to media questions, a spokesman of the BDF, Colonel Tebo Dikole, confirmed the challenges currently faced by the army and said the BDF was working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to vaccinate its members in phases determined by the government.
“The BDF, through its military health services, continues to vaccinate all eligible members at designated vaccination sites across its garrisons when vaccines are availed by the respective department,” Dikole said.
However, he disclosed that a special dispensation to vaccinate BDF members detailed for foreign deployment or training, irrespective of age, has been put in place.
Commenting on the Commander’s concerns, Dikole said Lt. General Segokgo is committed to working with other departments to curb the pandemic, including the vaccination of eligible BDF members.