SEHLOHO A LESOTHO
There is nothing in this world that startles the lives and economy of Lesotho like the timing and mentality of some of our leaders leaving one pondering whether Basotho’s lives and the economy of Lesotho are still important or what is important is their psyche, and this speculation because of the controversial AstraZeneca vaccine in Lesotho.
The whole world is in the middle of the crisis of Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) which is not only consuming multitudes of people but ransacking the economy of the world, and every country in the world is rolling up the sleeves in search for the best protection for its people and economy against the pandemic, but Lesotho is the only country in the world tossing the, dice gambling with the crisis jeopardizing the lives of Basotho and its economy.
The situation the country of Lesotho is in now needs a lot of concentration, and AstraZeneca vaccine should not be an issue; if it is ineffective, it is useless to Basotho’s lives – let’s go for effective vaccines that will save lives.
According to Kerry Cullinan, AstraZenenca’s failure in South Africa has serious implications for broader African COVID-19 roll-out, and this is according to the information he collected from three different Professors and the Minister of Health: Professor Salim Abdool Karrin, Professor Shabir Madhi, Professor Barry Schoub and the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Professor Salim Abdool Karrin is the South Africa’s co-chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee and COVID-19, and according to his researches, South Africa did not roll-out AstraZeneca because it is not effective in preventing hospitalization and reducing serious illness:
“So put very simple, we don’t want to end up with a situation
where we vaccinated a million people, or too many people with
a vaccine, that may not be effective in preventing hospitalization
and severe disease.”
On the other hand, the Lesotho Minister of Health, Mr Semano Sekatle, and Dr Richard Banda, a World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Lesotho defended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in the country, claiming it to be effective against more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Mr Sekatle said: “Lesotho was forging ahead with the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.” He sought to allay fears about its efficacy, saying it had proved to be effective in preventing deaths and treating severe symptoms of COVID-19.
(Lesotho Times – Govt, WHO defend use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Lesotho – March 4- 10 2021 – News; Pp. 4 by Herbet Moyo)
It can then only be prudent for Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to intervene and ask Ntate Sekatle where he performed the tests that proved the effectiveness of AstraZeneca because in Lesotho there is no Health Profession Council to test vaccines and there is no National Health Laboratory Service.
It is undisputed fact that the Ministry of Health (MoH) rely more on treatment and does not have the capacity to conduct research into local health issues, and the question is: why is WHO and the health ministry defending the planned use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Lesotho, saying it would be highly effective against more severe symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, and what would make it effective in Lesotho when it failed the trials conducted on it by the team of South African Institution investigators because both have the same COVID-19 variant?
Professor Shabir Madhi is the principal investigator on South African arm of phase 2 trial on the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine. He indicated that the vaccine showed 75 percent efficacy at 14 days, but as the trial progressed, the majority of participants became infected by the variant:
“Inadvertently, because of the timing of when we enrolled
participants into the study, 95% of all individuals infected after
two doses, were infected as a result of the variant, so this study was
able to show the vaccine’s efficacy on the variant.”
Professor Barry Schoub, co-chair of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 vaccines, described the AstraZeneca results as “rather disappointing” and Karry Cullinan quoted him saying:
“AstraZeneca results already were proven as rather disappointing – so I just think we need to may be suspended the use of AstraZeneca………….”
While addressing a press conference in Maseru last week minister Sekatke said: “Lesotho has ordered COVID-19 vaccines from different leading pharmaceutical companies……….the government has ordered the Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson as well as AstraZeneca vaccines…..” and the question is: Lesotho ordered three COVID-19 vaccines, and what is the interest of the Minister and WHO on one proven ineffective vaccine (AstraZeneca) over the two proven effective vaccines? (Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson)
Dr Zweli Mkhize, the South Africa’s Minister of Health told a media briefing that the country had suspended its planned roll-out of AstraZeneca vaccine due to the failure of a recent South Africa’s trial to show that the vaccine was effective against preventing mild to moderate disease from the B.1. 351 variant.
There is a Sesotho proverb which says: “ngoan’a cheleng o tšaba mollo,” frankly, once beaten twice shy.
Lesotho health minister Ntate Sekatle said it is important for people to understand that the vaccines are safe: “Most of us have been vaccinated. We get our children vaccination. It is the same concept.” Boldly, Ntate I disagree with him; the concept is not the same.
Some of us are fully acquainted with the tactics of the MoH, WHO and pharmaceutical companies (CDC) on vaccines issues (though it is not of this page now). It was only three years back when WHO defended the Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccine and claimed its effectiveness and readiness to vaccinate our children:
“Malloane Maepe WHO, EPI officer said MR vaccine is safe and has been in use for more than 5 decades and that the vaccination that was used in Lesotho was from a WHO pre-qualified supplier.”
(Informative – MoH admits shortage of vitamin A – 04 April – 10 April 2017 – Pp. 10 – Health; by Thandi Mthimkhulu)
This is not the first time WHO recommended ineffective vaccines to the MoH. On the 13th – 24th February 2017, under the coalition government of Dr Pakalitha Mosisili, the MoH vaccinated scores of the Basotho children up to the age of fourteen (0-14) nationwide against MR that came with side effects that parents and the ministry could not handle, and after this vaccination campaign some parents complained that they discover symptoms that include fever, a rash that starts on the face and spreads to rest of the body, headache, sores and pink eyes on their children, while some even lost their lives with four recorded deaths.
After the incident, the Adverse Event Committee and WHO team of experts which was comprised of the WHO vaccine Safety Expert for Southern Africa Dr Sujjet, and Measles and Rubella Elimination Coordinator at the WHO regional office for Africa Dr Belch Marsresha formed an investigative team after the Ministry of Health’s MR vaccination crisis, and the investigative team revealed that the four MR deaths were spontaneous as they were caused by severe acute malnutrition, skin infection, diarrhoea and pneumonia and the case was classified by the committee as coincidental.
Before the vaccination campaign the children were presented in good health conditions to the clinics, but after the vaccination they die because of severe acute malnutrition, skin infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, and how so because they were healthy before the vaccination?
AstraZeneca vaccine has side effects like any vaccine and medicine. Will the MoH be able to handle the side effects of the vaccine during and after vaccination when the majority of the Basotho become infected by the variant as indicated by Professor Shabir Madhi when it failed to do so with the MR vaccine?
It is undisputed fact that MR vaccine injured and recorded 4 four deaths of children, and hardly after 10 months on the 29th December 2017, the MoH launched another vaccine called the Rotavirus Vaccine, and “in compliance with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, the retrovirus vaccine will be included in the National routine vaccinations programmes…..”
(Informative – Ritrovirus Vaccine Launched – 05 December – 11 December 2017 – Health; Pp.10 – by Thandi Mthimkhulu)
At the launch, “………..on the same ocassion Dr Maile admitted that Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccine raised numerous concerns among the community affecting children negatively experiencing its effects.”
(Informative – Rotavirus Vaccine Launched – 05th December – 11th December – Health; by Thandi Mthimkhulu)
And how negatively was negatively because Dr ‘Nyane Letsie had earlier indicated that: “However, the investigations were done and Director General at the Ministry of Health, Dr. ‘Nyane Letsie said for the reported four death cases of children were found to have been out of ‘coincidence’ and not because of the MR vaccine.”
(Informative – 25th April – 1st May 2017 – Vaccination Week Put Health in People’s Hands – Health; by Thandi Mthimkhulu; Pp. 10)
At the launch of the Rotavirus vaccine, Dr Limpho Maile said the vaccine is going to be given to children starting from around six weeks of age for 1st dose and the 2nd dose be given around 10 weeks (2 months and 2 weeks), but of the three known Rotavirus vaccines (Rotashield, Rota Teg and Rotatrix) there was no such a dosage.
The recommended dosing schedule for Rotashield is at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. For Rota Teg, dosing schedule is the same as Rotashield being 2, 4 and 6 months of age, and Rotarix which is given in 2 and 4 months. And let us not fool ourselves into believing that Dr Maile was referring to Rotarix because it is given in two doses.
The Rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix) dose of this doctor is given to children starting from around 6 weeks and 10 weeks, but the Rotarix vaccine at an international dosage (in the US) is at two months and four months of age. The question is: which type of Rotavirus vaccine was to be given to our children of the three (Rota Teg, Rotashield and Rotarix) and which dose of Rotavirus vacine is of schedule 6 weeks and 10 weeks of age?
Rota Teg and Rotatrix have side effects that could lead to intussusception but not like Rotashield. Intussusception is a life threatening illness. It is the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in children between ages 3 months and 6 months years old.
It occurs when a portion of the intestines folds like a telescope (telescoping) with one segment slipping inside another segment (e honyetsa mala). It can occur in the colon, the small bowel or colon. This causes an obstruction, preventing the passage of food that is being digested through the intestine.
(About Stanford children’s Health – www. Stanfordchildren.org)
At the press briefing, ntate Sekatle said: “.…..They should listen to health experts who understand these matters instead of relying on rumour and false information.”
(The Post – Vaccine roll-out for Lesotho – February 25 – March 3 2021; Pp. 1&6 – by Majara Molupe)
The minister indicated that we must listen to Health experts who understand these matters, but the same Health experts already showed the nation their ignorance on MR and Rotavirus vaccines and as if it is not enough, today the health experts and WHO which included the same minister of health recommended the rejected AstraZeneca by South Africa to inject the Basotho with it claiming that all South Africa did in its studies was to access its effectiveness in preventing the mild symptoms. Banda said:
“So, the South African study did not come out
With findings on how well this vaccine can prevent
Deaths and other severe symptoms……”
(Lesotho Times – Govt, WHO defend use of AstraZeneca vaccine in Lesotho – March 4 – 10 2021 – News; Pp.6 by Herbet Moyo)
Even if South Africa had just conducted preliminary studies on Astrazeneca, fact of the matter is that it failed to yield positive results for South Africa, and how is it going to yield positive results for Basotho because Lesotho and South Africa have the same COVID-19 variant?
The fact that South Africa had just conducted preliminary studies which had several limitations seems to be assumptions aimed at satisfying the egos of WHO and MoH. We are not going to risk our lives with assumptions; Lesotho already suffered the consequences of vaccines assumptions.
On the report – AstraZeneca Vaccine Preprint Does Not Bond Well for Covid-19 Variant Response of February 15, 2021, by Kevin Kunzmann, the mRNA platform based vaccines may be more suitable to respond to more transmissible variants than adenovirus-based vector platforms.
Adenovirus (Chimpanzee virus) which is a harmless virus found in AstranZeneca which tricks antibodies to lessen against COVID-19 variant, appears only to offer minimal protection against more contagious variant which is increasing rapidly.
What Dr Banda, Semano Sekatle, Nthatisi Mothisi and Tholoana Masupha must be aware of is that South Africa was conducting research on AstranZeneca with Oxford vaccine group.
“The to-be-reviewed report research, from a team of South African
Institution Investigators and the Oxford Vaccine Group, indicated the Modified adenovirus-based vaccine ChAdOX 1 nCOVID-19 (AZD 1222) had a vaccine efficacy of 21.9% (95%CI, -49.9 to 59.8) in protecting from COVID-19 more than 14 days after the booster dose was administered to seronegative patients versus placebo.”
According to Kunzmann report, New Preprint data suggests the AstraZeneca coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine may not protect against mild – to – moderate infection due to South Africa.
WHO and the MoH defended the planned use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Lesotho, saying it would be highly effective against more severe symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, and what would make it effective when expert vaccinologists found it ineffective?
Both WHO, MoH, Ms Mothibi and Ms Masupha said Lesotho should use the AstraZeneca vaccine to reduce death and other severe symptoms yet the report said: “AstraZeneca conavirus 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine may not protect against mild – to – moderate infection due to the South African variant, so who is fooling who here?
Lesotho is the last country in the continent of Africa to be infected by Coronavirus – 2019 (Covid-19), and obviously COVID-19 did not sprout in Lesotho, but it was infected by South Africa from the 1st wave to 2nd wave when the Basotho, tourists and other foreigners were crossing borders into Lesotho.
After the infection, the COVID-19 numbers in Lesotho increased more during Christmas holidays when the scores of Basotho, some of whom were infected, entered Lesotho from South Africa without being tested, and those found positive being sent to their homes by MoH to self-quarantine, and there is no way in which COVID-19 variant of Lesotho could differ from South Africa’s variant even after thousand trials.
Richard Banda indicated that: “Whether there is the South African variant circulating in Lesotho or not, we will recommend the use of AstraZeneca…………………………………….” and the question again is: what is the interest of WHO on ineffective AstraZeneca vaccine?
“The currently available mRNA covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech (BNT 162 – 62) and moderna (mRNA – 1273) have greater neutralizing antibody development than adenovirus – based vaccines (AstraZeneca) and have neutralization reductions versus the new variant (B,1,351).”
(Kevin Kunzmann Report)
Only recently South Korea began vaccinating its population, and on Wednwsday last week March the 3rd at 3:44pm SEOUL (REUTERS) South Korea authorities said they are investigating the deaths of the two people who died within days of receiving AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine: “A 63 years old nursing home patient with cerebrovascular disease, developed symptoms including high fever, after being given the vaccine four days ago. Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCPA) Director Jeong Eun-Kyeong told a briefing.
According to Yonhap, later the patient was referred to a larger hospital but died after showing symptoms of blood poisoning and pneumonia.
“Another person in their 50s with a cardiac disorder and diabetes died on Wednesday after suffering multiple heart attacks, having received the same vaccine a day earlier..”
The symptoms which included high fever, blood poisoning, pneumonia and multiple heart attacks are not associated with either cerebrovascular disease nor cardiac disorder or diabetes. The known symptoms of cerebrovascular disease include: Severe and sudden headache, Paralysis, hemiplegia hemiparesis, loss of balance, becoming unconsciuos… and those of cardiac disorder include: Tachycardia, bradycardia, chest pain, shortness of breath and syncope while known symptoms of diabetes include: urinating a lot at night, are very thirsty, have blurry vision, very dry skin, numb and tingling hands or feet and if high fever, blood poisoning, pneumonia and multiple heart attacks were detected on the dead, it is high possible that the source of death is AstraZeneca vaccine.
Though Dr Jeory noted that: “there were no cases of fatalities from receiving COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech.” However, she did urge people to take the shot when they are feeling in good health, and the question is: what should patients tested positive with COVID-19 do because obviously prevention is failing? On the other hand, KDCPA said: “Out of the people who had received the coronavirus vaccines, 207 had adverse reactions including three cases of severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis.”
When asked for comment, an AstraZeneca spokesman in Seoul said the company had no comment at present.
(SEOUL – REUTERS – South Korea probing two deaths after AstraZeneca’s covid-19; March 3, 2021 – 3:44pm)
South Africa Health and Lagislative authorities delayed the administration of AstraZenenca to its healthcare workers, as previously planned, and instead immunized them with the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine because the expert vaccinologists stressed the utility of the vaccine in reducing severe COVID-19 disease and hospitalization.
In order to not experience the effects of AstraZeneca vaccine like MR vaccine, the government must delay and reconsider the AstraZenenca vaccination to health workers, border officials, elderly, teachers, factory workers, security forces, prison officials, prisoners and miners as indicated by Dr Ranyali and instead replace it with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines just like did South Africa Health and legislative authorities.
The MoH must be observant, vigilant and independent and stop being jump! – and how high my master? Because it is dealing with people’s lives.
This serves to remind government that the only way of getting genuine vaccines for the safety of the nation is by spending more money and not relying on donated or cheaper vaccines.
Minister Sekatle has already indicated that: “….. the govt had set aside M240 million for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines…” (Sunday Express – Lesotho to procure three types of Covid-19 vaccines – February 28 – March 6 2021: News-Pp.4 by Limpho Sello), and this plea calls for the replacement of adenovirus-vectored technology (AstraZeneca) with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson).