Mbabane: At the height of the escalating number of COVID-19 deaths and new confirmed cases, the Government of Eswatini has announced to have set aside a budget of at least E200 million towards securing COVID-19 vaccines at volumes sufficient to vaccinate all the people of Eswatini.
This was revealed by the Acting Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku when giving COVID-19 vaccine update on Sunday, at the Cabinet offices. Masuku said one of the key strategies to fight COVID-19 is the introduction of a safe and effective vaccine. He said the Kingdom is fully committed to introducing the COVID-19 vaccine as one of the interventions aimed at reducing the infection rate in the country.
He added that for that matter the Kingdom of Eswatini is in the process of preparing for the implementation of a nationwide programme of effective vaccination against COVID-19.
Masuku said the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines is expected to be made available in the first quarter of 2021 from the COVAX Facility.
He said the Nation will be kept informed by His Majesty’s Government on the developments with regard to the timelines for the vaccine delivery and rollout, the type of vaccines to be made available in the country and further public education on the COVID-19 vaccines.
Masuku said the country’s development and cooperating partners have also joined forces and some have already pledged support towards this noble exercise. These include the Republic of Taiwan; which has graciously committed US$500 000 towards the procurement of additional COVID-19 vaccines.
“It is strongly believed that these resources will not only be sufficient to secure adequate vaccines for emaSwati but also supplement the additional budget needed to continue the efforts of combating the scourge,” he added.
He further informed the nation that the Ministry of Health has established a COVID-19 Vaccine Preparedness Team that is working around the clock to put in place the necessary logistics that will enable the procurement, delivery and storage of the vaccines once in the country.
The team is also developing a plan for the rollout of the vaccine to the population, taking into consideration priority groups such as front-line workers and the elderly population.