Government has decided to make His Majesty King Letsie III a corona virus guinea pig when roll-out of the vaccine begins in a few days.
According to Minister of Communications Science and Technology, Keketso Sello, who is also Government Spokesperson, the King will be the first person to receive a dose from the 36 000 doses of the controversial Altrazeneca which arrived in the country some two days ago (Wednesday March 3 2021) on a South African truck.
Altrazaneca is one of the vaccines which have joined the fray in the fight against the pandemic. It came under the radar and scrutiny after being put on trial and being rejected in South Africa for its doubtful efficiency against the South African variant of the virus which Health Minister Semano Sekatle has indicated that is highly likely already prevalent in Lesotho on the principle of proximity. Lesotho is totally land-locked by South Africa making the latter its only neighbour on whom it depends for a lionâ€™s share of its daily needs.
Sello indicated that, Cabinet has decided that when the roll out of the vaccine starts, His Majesty King Letsie III will be the first to receive the vaccine.
â€œThe King will be followed by the Prime Minister then the Deputy Prime Minister who will be followed by the Minister of Health and all national leaders who would choose to be vaccinated, including chiefs and community councilors as well as church leaders,â€ he said.
â€œThe vaccine is an addition to ways of protection against Covid-19. It will help stop infections and help make sure that already infected people do not become ill or develop symptoms or die because of the virus,â€ he said.
â€œThe cabinet has also agreed that the Ministry of Health should sign an agreement between the government of Lesotho and the manufactures of the Covid-19 vaccine. Where the country will a bear the responsibility for the distribution and using of the vaccine. The vaccine was tested and recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO),â€ he said.
He indicated that the vaccine would be administered in phases until everyone of relevant age has been duly vaccinated. â€œPhase I of the vaccine will be used on 20% of the population which is about 430,000 people. Phase I includes Professional Health Workers, people working at border posts and old aged persons. In Phase II, 16% of the population which includes factory workers, mine workers, the discipline forces, police and correctional services together with students and teachers. The mentioned phases will be paid for by the African Union and Phase 3 which will cover 591,000 people, which will put us at 65% of the population that would have received the vaccine and we only be left with 35% of the population that would have not received the vaccine,â€ he said