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.

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.