Botswana signs agreement with global vaccine scheme for 20% of population

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A photo illustration show a syringe.
A photo illustration show a syringe.
Carol Smiljan/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Botswana has signed an agreement with the global vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organisation.
  • The agreement allows the southern African country the option to buy coronavirus vaccines for 20% of its population.
  • Botswana made an upfront payment to COVAX this week and will have the option to secure roughly 940 800 vaccine doses under a two-dose regimen.


Botswana has signed an agreement with the global vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organisation, giving it the option to buy coronavirus vaccines for 20% of its population, a senior health official told Reuters.

The southern African country has registered a relatively low number of coronavirus cases, around 7 800 with 27 deaths, but its economy has been dealt a severe blow by the pandemic.

Unlike many other African countries, Botswana does not qualify for subsidised vaccines under the Covax scheme because it is classified as an upper middle income country like neighbours Namibia and South Africa.

Botswana made an upfront payment to Cocax this week and will have the option to secure roughly 940 800 vaccine doses under a two-dose regimen, Moses Keetile, deputy permanent secretary in the health ministry, said in an interview.

Botswana's population is around 2.3 million.

"20% coverage is the initial allotment guaranteed under the arrangement," Keetile said.

With more than 180 countries involved, the Covax facility aims to make available 2 billion doses of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, with self-financing countries like Botswana participating either through optional purchase or committed purchase arrangements.

Botswana went for the optional purchase model to allow it to opt out at a later stage if necessary, Keetile said, adding that it would ask development partners to contribute towards payments to the facility that are outstanding.

Botswana could also consider bilateral deals with vaccine manufacturers if the need arises, but currently Covax is its preferred procurement route.

The country recently reopened its international borders to try to support its battered tourism sector, a major foreign-exchange earner, and cushion the blow of a forecast economic contraction of around 9% this year.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 105 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
25% - 194 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
62% - 480 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.25
(-0.09)
ZAR/GBP
20.29
(-0.13)
ZAR/EUR
18.23
(-0.10)
ZAR/AUD
11.25
(-0.23)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.04)
Gold
1787.51
(+0.09)
Silver
22.67
(+0.11)
Platinum
965.22
(+0.30)
Brent Crude
48.27
(+0.96)
Palladium
2413.01
(+0.60)
All Share
57822.50
(-0.17)
Top 40
53021.58
(-0.12)
Financial 15
11577.71
(-0.58)
Industrial 25
79894.95
(-0.12)
Resource 10
52804.55
(+0.03)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo