Botswana to receive first doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines

The vaccines will be given as second doses to those who had received their first shots. /CFP Image

Botswana received a further boost in its efforts to fight the coronavirus with the announcement of the expected arrival of its first-ever consignment of 108,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

“This consignment will be the first of several expected, which have been purchased through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) facility. Botswana expects to receive a total of 1,152,654 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine through this facility,” the government said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A health worker administers a vaccine. /VCG

The announcement comes a day after the government received 38,400 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which had been purchased through the COVAX facility.

The COVAX facility, a global pooled procurement mechanism which is co-led by the World Health Organization, was formed to ensure low- and middle-income countries receive COVID-19 vaccines. It has, however, faced delays and limited supplies.

A statement from the government said that part of the consignment will be used as second dose for persons who were previously informed that their second doses were not available.

Botswana launched its mass vaccination drive in late March, initially targeting the elderly, frontline healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions.

The southern African nation is battling a deadly new wave of the pandemic, which has prompted the government to implement tougher restrictions across the country such as the month-long closure of schools and the suspension of inter-zonal movement.

Botswana has recorded 122,574 COVID-19 infections with 1,704 deaths to date.