Swaziland’s government is meeting today to discuss a matter of national health and security; the issue of COVID-19 vaccines. Recent studies have shown that the vaccine Swaziland ordered may be less effective against the South African variant of the coronavirus. A meeting led by the World Health Organization and featuring COVAX is being held today to discuss the vaccine rollout in the kingdom.
You Can't Spell Vaccination Without Nation
Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi was part of an interview over the phone yesterday when she revealed that the results of the studies would be discussed today, but no changes have been made to the rollout plan as yet. While the words “less effective” may be scary to someone, especially when discussing something as important as health, the minister seems to be very optimistic about the whole thing. A lack of certainty might give some people doubts, but not Minister Lizzie. When responding to the issue of the vaccine’s effectiveness, she said; “There will be a WHO-led meeting tomorrow (today), to extensively discuss the findings. Just because it can be labelled as less effective, it does not mean it is not effective at all. The COVAX team will join us in the meeting because they were the entity that was responsible for rolling out the Oxford AstraZeneca to us”.
In light of all of this, it’s worth noting that Swaziland will in fact order several kinds of vaccines to fight the virus. “The country has also been preparing to secure the Johnson&Johnson and Pfizer BioNTech vaccines. The Johnson&Johnson -20 degrees Celsius refrigerator is now in the country and the -70 degrees Celsius Pfizer BioNTech refrigerator will soon be in the country,” said Nkosi.
To Vaccinate, Or Not To Vaccinate?
Proceeding to justify Swaziland’s purchase of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the minister made it clear that there were far worse vaccines out there. "Worth noting is that there are other vaccines that are still way less effective than the AstraZeneca vaccine, but are still being administered in some countries. The AstraZeneca is between 60 and 90 per cent effective and that is a fair rate,” the minister is quoted as having said.
In spite of the minister’s reassuring words, many Swazis are now skeptical about the government’s rollout plan. Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula mentioned that samples would be examined to see if South Africa’s variant was doing the rounds in Swaziland. “We are watching everything closely, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the studies that are ongoing with regard to COVID-19. We have also sent some samples to Pretoria in South Africa to assess the kind of variant that the country has so we can determine our choice of COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr Magagula said.
WHO Health Promotion Officer Dr Kevin Makadzange said the SA variant had already been found in Mozambique and Botswana. He went on to say that if there was any proof of the variant being in Swaziland, guidelines might have to be revised. Do you think the SA variant has made it to Swaziland? Do you think the kingdom should continue with her choice of vaccines? How ironic is it that Swaziland is sending samples to South Africa to determine if Swaziland has the South African variant of COVID? Stay safe out there Honourable Members, comment with insight, and FOLLOW FOR EVERYTHING SWAZILAND!
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