Botswana receives COVID-19 vaccines from India

Cropped hand wearing a nitrile glove holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial and a syringe

Botswana on Tuesday received a batch of 30,000 COVID-19 vaccines from India at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in the capital, Gaborone.

The Covishield vaccines are a donation from India, according to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, who was on hand at the airport to receive the consignment.

Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, is being manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

Tsongwane said the receipt of the vaccine marked “the beginning of a new journey”, adding that another batch ordered by the government will be delivered in a week.

The Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Edwin Dikoloti said the plan for the vaccine roll out will be communicated at a later date.

Dikoloti said the country’s medical regulatory authority will take the necessary steps to validate the vaccine before the roll out campaign begins.

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently urged people who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate at home because the nation’s health facilities had been overwhelmed by a rising number of cases.

Masisi’s statement came after Botswana announced 2,356 confirmed COVID-19 cases between February 23 and 26 in last week’s weekly update, the largest number recorded in a single update so far.

Botswana has recorded more than 31,000 confirmed cases and more than 350 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.