Botswana shifts start date of second phase of COVID-19 vaccination


Botswana’s Ministry of Health has moved up its date to begin vaccinating adults classified in the Phase Two category due to dwindling numbers of adults aged 55 years and above who were targeted in Phase One of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Authorities in Botswana have brought forward the start of the country’s second phase of COVID-19 vaccination. /VCG

According to a statement from the ministry, the second phase which covers persons aged 30-54 was due to begin in August but will now begin on Thursday (July 22) and initially target those aged 45-54.

“The reason for not inviting the whole phase two cohort at a go is to avoid congestion at vaccination sites,” the statement said.

“The ministry, therefore, advises adults aged 45 to 54 to register and visit their nearest vaccination site with effect from 22 July, 2021.”

More than 116,000 people have been fully vaccinated while more than 194,000 others have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to government data.

Botswana is battling a deadly new wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths which has forced the government to implement tougher restrictions across the country such as the closure of schools for a month and suspension of inter-zonal movement.

Like several African countries, Botswana was facing a challenge of vaccine shortage.

Although the uncertain availability of vaccines makes it difficult for the country’s vaccine rollout plan to go on smoothly, the government remains hopeful to have all those eligible to be vaccinated by the end of 2022, according to President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Botswana has reported more than 91,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,300 deaths.