Botswana needs P1.6 billion to finance its national vaccination rollout programme but the government currently has only P700 million or 44 percent of the amount it required, The Business Weekly & Review has established.
P152 million or 10 percent of the estimated budget has been availed by medical aids as cumulative contributions for their members. Available data shows that cumulative private sector health insurance employee benefits amount to P167 million (10 percent) of the National COVID-19 Budget.
This leaves a funding gap of P590million (36 percent) in the immunisation plan that still has to be covered. Faced with this situation, the government has appealed to the private sector to come on board.
“The Government of the Republic of Botswana encourages the private sector to channel its support towards immediate protection of those likely to succumb to COVID-19 as part of the National Plan for Acquisition, Logistics and Vaccination of Botswana (sic) against COVID-19,” says the Presidential Task Force statement .
Sinovac vaccines arrive
Even so, Botswana is on the threshold of completing its Phase One of its national vaccination rollout programme that saw close to 50 000 people being fully inoculated. Authorities say arrival of Sinovac vaccines recently should enable the country to proceed to the second phase of its vaccination programme that will cover other demographics, particularly people aged 55 and below.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health and Wellness announced the arrival of 200 000 doses of Sinovac vaccines procured from China. According to statistics from the COVID-19 Task Force, 152 383 people had received their first dose(s) while 48 510 had received their second dose(s) as at 21 June 2021.
Reached for comment this week, the Chief Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoH), Christopher Nyanga, said they are yet to decide the next vaccine target.
Nyanga was asked if the next phase would consider private sector businesses in order to fast-track economic recovery. “We are currently at the tail end of the Phase one category covering those aged 55 and above,” he said. “With the arrival of more vaccines, communication on the next step, including any prioritised groups, will be made in due course.”
Botswana’s COVID deaths have breached the 1000 mark.