Eswatini Receives First 12,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Under the COVAX Facility
This brings to 32,000 the number of vaccine doses delivered to the country after 20,000 doses were received from the Government of India on the 11th of March
On 13 March 2021, Eswatini received 12,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX facility. This brings to 32,000 the number of vaccine doses delivered to the country after 20,000 doses were received from the Government of India on 11 March 2021.
Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi, who received the vaccines on behalf of the Government, said more vaccines were expected to arrive under the COVAX facility to assist in reducing COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country.
"We receive these vaccines with gratitude and we look forward to receiving more vaccines from the COVAX facility,” said the Minister. “This vaccine will protect against severe illness and by so doing, it will reduce the numbers of deaths from COVID-19. The solidarity of all partners, including the European Union, United States of America, the United Kingdom and the United Nations supporting the COVAX Facility to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to all countries quickly and fairly, is highly appreciated.”
The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the UN, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and others. COVAX aims to coordinate international resources to enable the equitable access of COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and COVID-19 vaccines.
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh said: "The United Nations Development System in Eswatini welcomes the arrival of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility as a pathway to ending this deadly pandemic. While the first doses will be prioritized for health care and essential workers, we are anxiously and eagerly waiting for the next does that will allow Eswatini to contain the pandemic, save lives, get back to business, and build back Eswatini’s economy. We are proud of the overarching effort and partnership to accelerate the development and access to COVID vaccines, as co-led by the CEPI, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and WHO working in partnership with UNICEF, as well as the World Bank, manufacturers and civil society organizations, and others”.
“Vaccination against COVID -19 is but one of the prevention tools at our disposal and even after vaccination, we need to continue with the existing prevention measures, such as wearing masks, handwashing and social distancing, to mention a few,” said Dr. Cornelia Atsyor, WHO Representative in Eswatini.
The initial consignment of vaccines will support the vaccination of health care workers, marking the first phase of the nationwide vaccination campaign. Vaccinating Eswatini’s frontline workers first will ensure a healthy health workforce, who can continue providing life-saving services and maintaining a functional health care system.
"It's a proud moment for UNICEF, who has played a role in COVAX to support the procurement and logistics of the vaccine. We are happy and proud to have been able to support the Ministry of Health in Eswatini, which has been able to successfully manage two waves,” Afshin Parsi, UNICEF Eswatini Deputy Representative.
As of 13 March 2021, Eswatini, with a population of just above a million people, had a total of 17,234 cases of the coronavirus and there 661 people reported to have died from the disease.