- So far 1190 deaths registered
- Batswana perturbed by slow vaccination pace
- Gov’t blames vaccine hoarding by rich countries
As families continue to lose their loved ones to COVID-19, pressure is increasingly mounting on the government to fast-track vaccinations. As at 28 June, a total of 157 288 individuals were vaccinated, 84280 fully vaccinated. The Ministry of Health and Wellness anticipated that it would have vaccinated 80 percent of people aged 55 and above by end of July 2021.
After that the roll-out programme will transition to Phase Two, which is inclusive of adults aged between 30 and 54 years. There are 765754 people in this category.
But the rise in deaths is fuelling criticism of the government and accusations that it is dragging its feet from many quarters, including MPs. The government’s response is that the greatest challenge facing the country is vaccine hoarding by rich countries and gaps in access and delivery of doses. More than 1,190 lives have been claimed by the pandemic.
The Minister of Basic Education, Fidelis Molao, yesterday revealed that teachers are dying in alarming numbers and should therefore be prioritised. Even so, he told Parliament that there are not enough vaccines for the purpose.
As Botswana’s desperation grew, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Lemogang Kwape, last week pleaded with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland to advocate for fair and transparent distribution of COVID vaccines.
Scotland, who was in Botswana on a three-day-official visit, disclosed that 0.5 percent of life-saving vaccine doses have been administered in Africa while about 84 percent of shots were in high and upper-middle income countries.
Vaccination has been described as the only sustainable route out of the COVID-19 pandemic but sizeable numbers of people have not been vaccinated, especially the youth who now form part of COVID-19 victim statistics.