Eswatini Begins the Nationwide Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines
The roll out of the vaccines will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1, stage A: health workers and stage B: elderly and people with comorbidities.
On the 19th of March 2021, Eswatini Acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, launched a national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines while also getting his first jab of AstraZeneca vaccine at the Mbabane Male Wellness Clinic.
The launch, which was also used to allow the public to register and vaccinate on site, was attended by senior government officials, including Ministers, Members of Parliament, the diplomatic community, the United Nations, civil society as well as the media.
Masuku expressed hope that the vaccines will help the country to manage the COVID-19 response better by reducing new infections and deaths. “The vaccine will prevent us from falling seriously ill and in the process lower death rates and relieve the emotional turmoil that has gripped the nation in the past year and it will allow people to live a life that was previously lived before the pandemic,” he said. He dispelled rumours that AstraZeneca vaccine was not safe, saying the country has evaluated the vaccines with the help of WHO to ensure the safety of the recipients.
He noted that the success of this vaccination programme will rely on the cooperation of all Emaswati. “The rollout of the vaccines does not give us the licence to stop the health protocols that we have been so religiously adhering to over the past 12 months. We are still expected to use facemasks, wash our hands, avoid crowds and practise social distancing,” said the Acting Prime Minister. Eswatini has received a total of 32,000 doses of Oxford Astra-Zeneca. 20 000 doses were received from the Government of India on the 11th of March 2021 and 12 000 doses vaccines were received under the COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access) facility on the 13th of March 2021.
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, thanked the Government for taking decisive steps in ensuring that stern measures are put in place to combat the epidemic and procuring the vaccines on time. “It is with much relief that we see the deployment of the vaccines and we hope that the dark shadow that was clouding the bright future that we want for Eswatini has been removed,” she said.
She expressed appreciation to the COVAX facility and paid tribute to the Minister of Health, Senator Lizzie Nkosi, and all frontline workers for the sustained response to COVID-19, where their lives were always put at risk. “We thank all the partners of the COVAX facility for joining Eswatini in ensuring that we build back a prosperous, just and resilient Eswatini that leaves no one behind,” she said.
Ambassador of the United States of America to Eswatini, Ms. Jeanne Maloney, described the vaccines as a game changer. She noted that Eswatini has become a leader in the enrollment of the vaccine and is exemplary to other countries.
The roll out of the vaccines will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1, stage A will cover all health workers and stage B will cover all the elderly and people with comorbidities. Phase 2 will cover other frontline workers such as the police force, teachers, transport industry and the media.
Registration for the COVID-19 vaccine is now available through the link, www.eswatinihealth.org.