Francistown — All eligible Batswana have been encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect themselves and the country against the pandemic.
The call was made by those who have already been vaccinated during the ongoing "Arm ready for Lemao" campaign.
Kgosi Pogiso Sekoko of Tonota, who was one of the first people to get the vaccine, said he had been anxiously waiting for it.
Kgosi Sekoko explained that the vaccine was safe and urged people to get vaccinated to protect the economy of the country.
He, however, cautioned that the vaccine was not a cure but a boost for the immune system.
"I encourage Batswana to get the vaccine in large numbers in order to protect themselves against the pandemic," he stressed.
Kgosi Sekoko said although people were not forced to get the vaccine, it was important that they did.
The councillor for Tonota West, Mr Endy Boatile, who also received the jab, said there was nothing wrong with the vaccine.
He added that there was no country that killed its people through false vaccination. "Perceptions against the COVID-19 vaccine are false and people should not believe them," he said, adding that the vaccine was not a cure but protection as it boosted the immune system.
"Vaccination is the only way for us to protect our health and economy from the pandemic," he stated, and encouraged all eligible to get the vaccine.
Councillor Boatile also advised people to continue observing COVID-19 protocols such as the wearing of masks, practicing social distancing and washing hands with soap and clean water.
Meanwhile, a brief survey in Francistown about residents' readiness to get the vaccine registered mixed reactions with a few saying they were ready to get the vaccine.
Ms Zondiwe Mothoosele of Tshimoyapula, who is a street vendor in Francistown, said she was more than willing to test and that she would be one of the first to get vaccinated when her time came.
She noted that the COVID-19 situation was getting worse and that the best option was to get vaccination.
"Our economy has collapsed because of this virus and it is important for everyone to get vaccinated to open doors for the economy," she added.
Ms Mothoosele said the pandemic had also affected the informal sector.
"Movement restrictions and lockdowns badly affected the economy and we the informal sector are hardest hit," she added.
She said the disease had also prevented investors from coming into the country, adding that failure to get the vaccine would exacerbate the situation.
Ms Kesego Chabota of Bobonong, another street vendor, said she was not ready for the vaccine because she had heard a lot of stories about its side effects.
However, she said she would not prevent any of her family members from getting vaccinated.
Her words were echoed by Ms Bangu Bose-Manyepedza of Zwenshambe, who questioned the efficacy of the vaccine.
However, she said she would not discourage those who wanted to get the vaccine to do so.
The COVID-19 vaccine campaign, which covered different centres of greater Francistown, greater Gaborone, Selebi Phikwe, Kweneng, Central, Ngami and Maun started on March 26, targeting those aged 55 and above because they are more at risk.
It will then move to those aged above 18 and frontline workers.
Source : BOPA