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E200million mess: Eswatini receives AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines as a gift from Indian Government

Thursday, 11th March, 2021

MBABANE: Senator Lizzie Nkosi, the Health Minister received 20 000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a gift from the Government of India despite an earlier statement by Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku who announced that government would  spend E200million to purchase the vaccines.

Reached for comments on Thursday, Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU)said he was aware that the 20 000 doses of vaccines were a donation, he urged government to prepare a reasonable budget to purchase vaccines instead of relying on donations.

The Nurses Union President said as nurses, they were strongly opposed to government's plans to vaccinate them with the donated low efficacy AstraZeneca vaccines.

“We are totally against government plans to vaccinate us with this AstraZeneca low efficacy vaccines, we rather wait for the Johnson and Johnson to arrive in June because these AstraZeneca vaccines that were rejected in South Africa cannot prevent the virus that is circulating in the country. Government must prepare a reasonable budget and buy COVID-19 vaccines instead of relying on donations” said the Nurses Union President.

Speaking to the media shortly after the arrival of the vaccines, Health Minister Senator Lizzie Nkosi said a majority of health workers have already registered for vaccination adding that they expected to start the vaccination exercise by next week. 

“The health workers will include community care givers and these will be followed by the elderly and those with co-morbidities then frontline workers and the rest of the Nation” ,she said.

On another note, India High Commissioner Rhada Venkataram when speaking during the press conference said the Government of India would continue to support Eswatini in its fight against the pandemic as well as in achieving its development goals by raising the levels of engagements between the two friendly countries.

E200million mess: Eswatini receives AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines as a gift from Indian Government
Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi receives AstraZeneca vaccines