Gaborone — Botswana on Sunday received 200 000 doses of SinoVac vaccine as a gift from the government of China.
The donation will be followed by another 200 000 doses purchased by Botswana from China that is expected to arrive in the country soon.
Receiving the consignment on behalf of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Kabo Morwaeng said the continued arrival of COVID-19 vaccines was testimony to government’s commitment to ensure all Batswana were vaccinated to improve immunity.
Minister Morwaeng expressed gratitude to China for continuing to extend a helping hand to Botswana, particularly during the pandemic.
He said it was a sign of the strong bilateral and multilateral relations between Botswana and the international community.
The minister encouraged Batswana to take the COVID-19 jabs availed to them further assuring the nation that health authorities, through the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA), would continue to ascertain the safety of vaccines.
He applauded and thanked Batswana who had already been vaccinated.
For his part, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti said the donation could not have come at a better time as vaccines were perceived to be the only hope for the world in the face of high COVID-19 fatalities and severe symptoms.
Dr Dikoloti said vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which started on March 21, was about to be completed.
The programme for the roll out of the SinoVac vaccine would be announced soon, he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese ambassador to Botswana, Mr Wang Xuefeng has described the donation as a symbol of China-Botswana fraternity and concrete action in building a global community of health for all.
Ambassador Wang said the donation was the latest achievement in the two countries’ anti-pandemic cooperation.
It was also part of President Xi Jinping’s commitment made at the extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 last June to make Chinese vaccines a global public good, he said.
He pointed out that Botswana and China stood with each other in the face of the pandemic with his country providing multiple batches of medical supplies for Botswana anti-pandemic battle.
He said China also brought in a 16th Chinese medical team to assist local personnel.
The two countries had forged extraordinary synergy in the fight against the common enemy of mankind, he stated.
Ambassador Wang said China would continue working with Botswana to defeat the virus, facilitate economic recovery and build a community with a shared future as well as help the country achieve long term sustainable development.
Source : BOPA