In order to reassure the public about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Lesotho’s Minister of Health, Semano Sekatle, invited the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Anurita Bains, the Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Richard Banda and the European Union (EU) Ambassador, Christian Manahl, to receive the vaccinations today together with a number of dignitaries at the Military Hospital at the Makoanyane Barracks in Maseru.
Speaking on behalf of his international colleagues, the EU Ambassador expressed his solidarity with health care workers for their commitment in helping to protect the nation from the pandemic and commended the government for organizing the campaign with the vaccine obtained through the COVAX Facility.
Referring to the temporary suspension of AstraZeneca in several European countries, Ambassador Manahl reminded the public that evidence obtained worldwide, including confirmation by the WHO and European Medicines Agency (EMA), shows that AstraZeneca is effective in preventing serious illness and the need for hospitalization in case of infection with COVID-19, as well as reducing the risk of death. Ambassador Manahl reiterated that the benefits of the vaccine far out outweigh the risks.
He added, “Vaccination is voluntary but I plead with Basotho to take their decisions responsibly and to consider that only collective action will contain the virus allowing the country to eventually overcome the pandemic. I caution Basotho not to drop their guard and to continue observing COVID-19 prevention protocols, such as wearing a mask, regular handwashing and practicing social distancing, and the lockdown restrictions as advised by the government”.