The Swaziland (eSwatini) Acting Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, the chief of police, and top judiciary have been first to receive coronavirus vaccines although there are only enough doses in the kingdom to fully protect 16,000 people.
The Swazi Government had announced front-line health workers would be first in line to receive jabs. About 32,000 doses recently arrived in the kingdom which is ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. A person needs two doses to be fully protected.
Announcing what he called the 'launch of the national COVID19 Vaccine programme', Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said in a speech at the Men's Wellness Centre, Mbabane, 'This launch and the vaccination rollout that will follow mark a step up in our fight against COVID-19, underpinned by His Majesty's Government's immovable commitment to protecting Emaswati [the people of Swaziland].'
In the past few days the Swazi Government has been publicising on Twitter the vaccination of top politicians and judiciary.
Masuku said, 'As we have been told by health experts countless times before, these vaccines will save lives. The vaccines will help prevent us from falling seriously ill and in the process, they will greatly lower death rates while also relieving the pressure exerted on our health system.'
Despite the evidence that prominent people were getting priority treatment with the vaccine, the Acting Prime Minister said, 'As has been said before, the vaccination program will be administered in a phased approach.' He said Phase 1 Stage A would cover all healthcare workers.
Phase 1 Stage B would cover the elderly and those with pre-existing serious illnesses.
Separately, Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health Dr Vusi Magagula warned Swaziland could get a third wave of the virus at the end of April / beginning of May 2021. He said this was the time of year when cases of flu usually increased in the kingdom.
The eSwatini Observer reported Dr Magagula stated that once the number of infections recorded daily reached 40 the ministry would take that as a sign of the wave having started to increase.
The number of daily new cases has been fewer than 10 in recent days.