The Coordinator of COVID -19 Task Force, Dr. Kereng Masupu, is a worried man because cases of the deadly COVID-19 virus are rising exponentially at a time of dwindling fiscal revenues and an overstretched health care system.
Addressing the nation last week, Dr Masupu complained of the country’s high 7-day rolling average that is on a steady rise. “We are registering 300 cases per day and, our 7-day rolling average is very high,” he said in televised address on Monday.
He told the nation that the country has to-date recorded a total of 885 COVID-related deaths and that 149, 268 people have received their first vaccine jab. But inspite of the negative national prognosis, Dr. Masupu hailed Botswana for being among the most successful countries in the world in screening for the coronavirus. “Phase 1 of the vaccination programme is progressing (well),” he said. “We are about to get into Phase 2, which will focus on those below 55 years,” he said, adding that inoculating those aged 65 and above first was due to the more severe effects of the disease on the old and infirm.
He nevertheless noted that the government faces resource constraints as it endeavours to contain the pandemic. Second dose vaccination actually commenced this week. “The public is informed that the campaign of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines will commence on the 8th June 2021,” a press statement from the Ministry of Health and Wellness announced. “The campaign will commence with those who have received the Sinovac vaccine.”
The ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer Christopher Nyanga, said those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine will be due for their second dose in the week beginning 21 June 2021.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) across the country will be available to give guidance to all who are due for their second dose,” the statement continued. “The community is encouraged to visit the vaccination sites where they received their first dose and to bring along their vaccination Blue card for avoidance of doubt.”
Meanwhile, the health ministry recently confirmed to this publication that like the rest of the world, Botswana faces possible medical oxygen shortage in the event cases surge.