The Swaziland (eSwatini) Government has missed its own deadline to get additional coronavirus vaccines into the kingdom.
So far only 35,000 doses have been distributed among the population of more than 1.1 million.
The Swazi Ministry of Health has repeatedly said over past weeks that 500,000 more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would arrive by the end of May 2021.
But the doses have not arrived. Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi said in a statement there would be a ‘slight delay’. No firm date was given.
She said, some new requirements have had to be incorporated into the agreement with AstraZeneca to access these vaccines.
There is now doubt whether those people who received jabs would get a second dose in time for it to be effective. There should be a 12 week delay between jabs. She said, ‘This, therefore, means that the next two weeks are critical in ensuring that we get doses into the country.’
In an update on the state of play with other coronavirus (COVID-19), she said,
‘Pfizer: Our negotiations are at an advanced stage. We have received the head of terms which have undergone all legal reviews including the Attorney General’s Office and we are on the verge of signing. We are yet to receive a delivery date. Government funding will be utilised for purchasing of these doses.
‘Johnson & Johnson (J&J): Engagements with J&J, through the African Union, are ongoing and the earliest expected delivery is slated for August 2021. We will receive doses from the COVAX facility and will also utilise the funding we have from Government and the Republic of China (Taiwan) for purchasing of additional doses.
‘Moderna: With financial support from the Kirsh Foundation, we continue with our negotiations with Moderna. We are waiting to hear next steps from them and if all goes well, delivery will be in Q3 and these vaccines will be prepaid by the Kirsh Foundation.
‘COVAX facility: We have received updated correspondence this week on the delivery of the next batch of 14 400 doses. They are in the process of finalising the logistics of getting the vaccines in-country, which will confirm the exact delivery date.
‘Sputnik V: Bilateral negotiations are ongoing with the Gamaleya Institute to secure doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine. As this vaccine has yet to receive approval, we continue to follow up with the WHO, SADC Regional Medicines Authority Harmonisation Initiative (ZAZIBONA) that we are part of and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) on approval of Sputnik V to enable its safe use in the country and in the region.’
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Swaziland runs out of coronavirus vaccines, only 35,000 people treated