Botswana to start COVID-19 vaccine booster jab

A man receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site in Gaborone, Botswana, Oct. 12, 2021. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)
A man receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site in Gaborone, Botswana, October 12, 2021. (Xinhua)

Botswana will start offering booster shots of five different COVID-19 vaccines from Monday, Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness announced in a statement.

Those who have received their last dose at least two months prior and ideally within six months of their original shot automatically qualify for booster shots of Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Sinovac, read the statement released Friday.

According to the statement, this follows the approval of the booster shots of all the five different COVID-19 vaccines by the southern African country’s medicinal regulator, Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA).

Shirley Mukamambo, the principal public relations officer with Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness, told Xinhua in a telephone interview Sunday that everyone who has been fully vaccinated “must get a booster dose of a vaccine which he or she was vaccinated with.”

“Booster doses are meant to increase immunity that in case one is infected by COVID-19 or variant must not suffer severe symptoms that may lead to hospitalization or death,” said Mukamambo.

Botswana has recorded 237,678 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,514 related deaths since the first detection of the pandemic in March 2020, according to the ministry.

By the end of December 2021, at least 1.03 million people of the country had been fully vaccinated, exceeding the targeted population, said Makumambo.