MASERU – A consortium of local private companies called Sesiu Sa Letšoele le Beta Poho has secured a total of 200 000 doses of both the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines to amplify the government’s COVID-19 inoculation programme.
The outfit was established with the purpose of augmenting the acquisition and roll-out of the national COVID-19 vaccine programme for all private sector corporations that make up the fund’s consortium.
Its members include Alliance Insurance, Standard Lesotho Bank, Nedbank Lesotho, Econet Telecom Lesotho, Metropolitan Lesotho, LSP, Data Net Lesotho, Pick ’n Pay Supermarket, Comnet, FNB Lesotho, Letšeng Diamond, NB Holdings and Specialised Insurance Company.
The group has announced in a statement that it secured the Moderna vaccine subject to the World Health Organisation (WHO) approval and the subsequent lifting of the United States (U.S) manufactured vaccines embargo.
The 200 000 doses of the vaccines will be delivered immediately subject to the sought authorisation by the Lesotho government.
This is after Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro also announced that Lesotho is expecting a second batch of the COVID-19 vaccine that comprises 100 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility, which will arrive later in May.
Dr Majoro further showed that the government has also ordered one million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the Africa Centre of Disease Control and Prevention.
Earlier on when addressing the National Assembly, the Minister of Health Semano Sekatle said the government has already procured Johnson and Johnson vaccines to add on to the available AstraZeneca vaccines.
Mr Sekatle showed that the country is expecting 1 156 806 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the African Union (AU), adding that the government has already paid a sum of M25million, which amounts to 15 percent of the total cost of the vaccines.
Unlike the AstraZeneca which is administered twice, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, he said is only injected once.
“Therefore the government has ordered the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to increase the number of people to be vaccinated,” Mr Sekatle also said.
Sesiu sa letšoele le beta poho has consequently appealed to everybody in Lesotho to contribute towards saving lives through any amount of cash to their M100million target in June.
The initiative promises to be transparent in acquiring the vaccine but the government is not entirely involved except for the support from the highest office in the land.
The local initiative by private businesses to buy COVID-19 vaccines has gained momentum as the targeted M100 million is about to be achieved.