Swaziland: Slow Roll Out of Coronavirus Vaccines in Swaziland, Health Workers to Get Priority

King Mswati III of Eswatini disembarks from a plane at Sochi International Airport as he arrives to take part in the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia, 23 October 2019.

Only 3 percent of the Swaziland (eSwatini) population are likely to get coronavirus vaccines in the first phase of inoculations, according to the kingdom's Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi.

In a statement she said no firm date for the arrival of the first vaccines had been given but she hoped it would be before the end of February 2021.

There are about 1.2 million people in Swaziland.

Nkosi said frontline healthcare workers would be the first to get the vaccine. It had previously been reported in local media that Swazi politicians would be given first priority.

Phase two would see the elderly aged 60 years and above and people living with pre-existing illnesses. Phase three would be other essential workers outside of the health service, including security forces and teachers.

She said the government had formed several committees to distribute the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine and that the AstraZeneca / Oxford University vaccine was its preferred choice, but other vaccines could be imported.

Nkosi said about 108,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were expected in the Kingdom by the end of February. Since two doses are needed that would be enough to only vaccinate 54,000 people.

However, Nkosi said Swaziland would eventually receive more than 230,000 doses through the African Union. The Swazi Government was also looking for ways to obtain vaccines independently.

As of Wednesday (3 February 2021) 15,974 people had tested positive for coronavirus and 585 had died, according to the Ministry of Health.

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