Botswana starts COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Botswana kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination program Friday with the elderly citizens given priority for the jab.

Minister of Health and Wellness Edwin Dikoloti shows a T-shirt printed with the slogan during the official launch of the “ArmReady For Lemao” (ArmReady to receive the vaccine) communications campaign in Gaborone, Botswana on March 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)

Several high-ranking former and current government officials publicly took the vaccine in different parts of the country as a way of encouraging the public to come forth and get vaccinated.

Former President Festus Mogae was the first to receive the jab, followed by the current Minister of Health and Wellness Edwin Dikoloti at Block 8 Medical Clinic in Gaborone.

Speaking during the event, Dikoloti explained that currently only people with underlying health conditions and who are 55 years old and above will receive the vaccine.

“Today marks a major milestone in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. I urge everyone who is eligible and has been called up for vaccination to do so as the vaccine has been checked and it is safe for use,” he said.

Botswana received a donation of 30,000 doses of the CoviShield vaccine from India earlier this month. The country expects more vaccines to arrive before the end of March through the COVAX facility, an international COVID-19 vaccine campaign co-led by the World Health Organization and its partners.