Only 35,000 of Swaziland's 1.2 million population have received their first vaccination against coronavirus and the kingdom has run out. The Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said more were expected.
He said they should arrive in Swaziland (also known as eSwatini) before the end of May 2021. Masuku and Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi have been promising new vaccines were imminent for some weeks.
Masuku, in a statement on Thursday (6 May 2021), said, 'We are still expecting to receive a batch of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines from the COVAX facility before the end of this month. Additionally, we are also in line to receive the first batch of 500,000 vaccines from Oxford AstraZeneca before the end of this month to continue with the rollout of the vaccination exercise.'
He said, 'While numbers of new infections nationally are relatively low, standing at 15 cases recorded in one week and no death reported in 18 days, we cannot be lulled into a sense of comfort and complacency.'
Despite the shortage of vaccines, Masuku announced relaxations on restrictions imposed as part of the kingdom's partial lockdown to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The number of people allowed to attend outdoor arts and entertainment events has been increased to 500; indoor events can now accommodate up to 300 people.
More sports, such as basketball, netball, rugby sevens, volleyball and women's football, will be allowed to resume.
Alcohol sales have been relaxed but continue to be restricted to home consumption.
According to the World Health Organisation, in Swaziland from 3 January 2020 to 6 May 2021, there had been 18,467 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 671 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 5 May 2021, a total of 34,897 vaccine doses had been administered.